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Sports & Athlete Professionals and Divorce

Divorce for a professional sports athlete or coach can lead to complex situations that may make the legal process high profile and may make obtaining the divorce a long and convoluted process. The responsibilities associated with being a pro athlete are well known to be strenuous on a relationship and often times can lead to the dissolution of the marriage. “According to Mark Kreider of ESPN.com divorce rates are estimated to occur and resonate between 60 and 80 percent of all professional athlete marriages.” Common reasons for divorce amongst professional sports athletes may be involving financial burdens, irreconcilable differences, infidelity, problems resulting from long term separations, and or any other matter related to a legal reason for divorce. However, pro- athlete divorce differs from traditional divorce in that the amounts of marital properties are typically larger and more lavish, the parties may reside further apart or travel could complicate finalization of legal documents, the amounts of marital debt may be greater, and the divorce process may become a matter of public interest. By choosing the right legal counsel a professional athlete may be able to circumvent some of the negative repercussions of filing for divorce that are commonly experienced in high profile cases.

Complex Asset Divorce:
Dividing marital assets in a complex asset divorce can be challenging as is the case for most professional sports athletes with significant amounts of earnings, wealth and assets. In such situations divorcees would generally be required under Georgia law to equitably distribute assets between the parties. In high asset divorces parties may find difficulties in establishing ownership of particular properties or in complex situations may have invested partial or full ownership into businesses –which are difficult to divide. In other situations a party may attempt to conceal joint marital property in an attempt to retain the monetary investment in such property or the item itself from equitable division or attainment by the opposing party – such is the situation in high conflict cases. Further complications may concern taxation and additional financial obligations resulting from debt or payments owed for joint marital accounts. By hiring the right legal counsel a sports pro-athlete may avoid unforeseen complications resulting in divisions of property and or obtain referrals to additional professionals that may be necessary in securing finances during the course of litigation.

Long Distance Divorces:
In a lot of divorce situations a professional sports athlete may be required to travel and or may decide to relocate to a different state during the divorce proceeding. In such situations the amount of time required to process the divorce may be extended due to inabilities of the parties to arrange meetings to sign and finalize legal documents. Additional problems may also arise due to complications concerning the enforcement of court orders over state lines or during the athletic party’s travels. Although distance is not always unavoidable the circumstances surrounding long distance divorce are known to expand the length of litigations which is not always desirable in all situations. Contrarily, long distance divorce may be beneficial in situations in which the parties have engaged in high conflict and there is a well-documented history of stalking, harassment, abuse, false allegations, etc. Dependent upon the situation, an experienced divorce attorney specializing in high profile cases, can assist you in enforcing court orders over state lines and arranging for completion of documents in a time that is suitable to your particular needs.

Child Custody:
In many instances the divorcees may have one or more minor children at the time of divorce and custodial arrangement will need to be made to establish a parenting plan, visitation, and transportation schedules. Because professional athletes have demanding schedules and their employment opportunities are known to perpetuate travels and high stress there instances in which their terms of employment may be perceived to interfere in the “child’s best interest.” If the terms of employment are foreseen to cause a substantial interference and is perceived to lead to instability for the child than the opposing parent may be awarded physical custody. However, this is not the case in all situations, but the factors relating to employment as a professional athlete are considerable factors that a court may use when rendering a custody decision. It is important to note that there have been several instances in which a professional sports athlete was awarded physical custody in light of legal evidence.

In high profile divorce situations including those involving professional athletes there is a chance that the divorce and information’s concerning the divorce could be leaked to the media or press. In such situations the divorce could gain public attentions and result in releases of information which either party may wish to remain confidential. Although it is not always guaranteed that a divorce action will be able to avoid tabloids or unwanted spot light it is possible for the divorce action to limit information’s accessible to the public by means of filing and particular care with confidential information. In many unfortunate situations an attorney may divulge private information to the public or release confidential information on to public record either by mistake or due to a lack of experience in handling high profile cases. A knowledgeable council that has expertise in high profile cases can take actions to make your divorce proceeding as confidential as possible by keeping details amongst the legal professionals and parties – where it belongs.

If you or your spouse is a professional sports athlete, professional coach, or team manager / owner and your are currently seeking divorce, than it is necessary for you to seek professional legal counsel to assess your case. Although the factors concerning your case may be complex it is possible to achieve a divorce with good standing despite many of the typical obstacles. By contacting an attorney with experience in pro athlete divorces you will be able to adequately address any of the unique challenges you are likely to encounter.