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What Next For Tiger Woods? Celebrity Breakups Often Extra Bumpy

Publication Date: 
December 19, 2009
Orlando Sentinel
Rene Stutzman and Anika Myers Palm

Professor R. Richard Banks, an expert in family law, is quoted on the differences in divorce law in California and Florida:

Your husband is rich, famous and can't keep his hands off cocktail waitresses. You decide to divorce him. What's your next step?

Hire a good lawyer. Yours likely will be a complicated breakup.

If Elin Nordegren Woods indeed does decide to divorce 33-year-old golf legend Tiger Woods, she could be in for a long, bumpy ride.

High-profile couples face all the gut-wrenching decisions that confront other divorcing couples — kids, visitation, how to divide property and debts — according to Central Florida family lawyers and attorneys who have handled celebrity divorces in Florida.


Elin most likely would fare better with a California divorce than a Florida one, attorneys say.

California is a "community property" state, meaning all income produced during a marriage must be split 50-50, Stanford University family-law professor Richard Banks told the Los Angeles Times.

Under Florida law, "you have to divide the assets equitably, but that doesn't necessarily mean equally," he said. "In fact, the greater the pot of money, the less likely a court is to split it evenly."

In Florida, the spouse who earned the family's income "generally gets to keep it," although the other spouse's lifestyle during the marriage comes into play, Banks said.