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A divorce with foreign assets

On Behalf of | Nov 24, 2021 | Divorce, High-Asset Divorce

A high-asset divorce in California is sure to disrupt a couple’s plans toward wealth. Breaking a marriage up will call for a change in how two spouses handle or use their money. Equity, which is to say a fair share, is what everyone wants during a divorce. Finding an equitable balance, however, becomes a true challenge when foreign assets are owned by either spouse.

Opposing laws and legal systems

The challenges of a high-asset divorce with foreign assets are international laws and vague jurisdictions. Trusts, which are common estate tools, for example, might exist in two countries but with laws that govern each differently. Deciding on which laws have precedence or how such are even interpreted can complicate a divorce. When both spouses have to deal with foreign assets, an otherwise simple divorce might result in a grave dispute.

Separate, uncorrelated plans

Another challenge resulting from foreign assets is the exact plan guiding them. The specific laws of the state or country are those that you’ve opened your accounts or written a will based on. Local laws lead spouses to determine who their beneficiaries are based on specific regulations governing each titled asset. What might have been obvious regarding a spouse’s past decision can turn out much more complicated after interpreting the foreign laws they were governed by.

Community property in California

Community property is defined by the courts where the divorce assets reside. Designation as community property means that something is owned by both spouses. This can complicate a case if one spouse’s objective is to maintain separate property. In the best-case scenario, one spouse finds a way to get their local court to accept or deny the laws of another country.