High Profile Divorces May Impact Mississippi Divorce Law

Recently, it was announced that Shellie Zimmerman, wife of George Zimmerman who was recently acquitted of murder in the Trayvon Martin case, has filed for divorce.  The announcement came days after a domestic dispute between Shellie and George in which police and reporters arrived in droves to their Lake Mary home.  Shellie had called 911 stating that her husband had a gun and was behaving in a threatening manner.  Shellie later denied actually seeing the gun, but knew he had one because George always carries one on his person.  Police did not recover a gun, but found the iPad on which Shellie said she recorded the incident smashed to pieces.

Details are still unfolding in the Zimmerman dispute and the divorce is in its infancy stages, but the nation no doubt will anxiously following the story.  The Zimmerman divorce is just the most recent in a string of high profile divorces that have captured the attention of the nation.  The Murdoch divorce is another divorce making headline news.  Media mogul Rupurt Murdoch announced this past summer that he was divorcing his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng.  In his divorce petition, Murdoch alleged the marriage had broken down irretrievably.  It appeared the marriage would proceed quickly, until Deng hired a new attorney who recently represented Christina Lurie, former wife Philadelphia Eagle’s owner, Jeffrey Laurie.  Ms. Laurie reportedly  obtained a favorable divorce settlement and remained part owner of the team.  News associations are conjecturing that Deng’s choice of new attorney means she is gearing up for a fight. While much of Murdoch’s fortunes are protected by pre-nuptial agreements, there are still several areas of the divorce for Deng to contest, such as custody of the couple’s two children, the couple’s Fifth Avenue penthouse, and ownership of the yacht the couple shared.

These high profile divorces highlight the special considerations that those who are in public eye must take when seeking a divorce.  If you are a celebrity, sport’s player, politician, or even local celebrity, the following are a list of things to consider when seeking your high profile divorce:

  1. Retain an experienced divorce attorney—this is by far the most important step in your divorce.  An experienced divorce attorney is essential for any spouse seeking a divorce, but it is especially important for those that may have a high profile divorce as often more assets are involved and additional issues such as dealing with the press will come into play.  A skilled divorce attorney will be able to negotiate for higher net worth settlements and handle the obtrusive press.
  2. Seek a mediation expert—private divorce mediation will keep all the details of your divorce away from prying eyes.  Divorce meditation is kept confidential and can be a means of avoiding the public courtroom.  It can also be your best bet for reaching a quick, favorable divorce settlement.
  3. Hire an asset protection expert—Mississippi is an equitable distribution state.  As a general rule, all property jointly owned will be subject to division during a divorce.  There is a caveat that each spouse may maintain his or her property for which he or she alone holds the title.  For high profile or high net worth couples, you need an attorney who has experience and the ability to analyze sizeable asset portfolios including real estate, stocks, business ownerships, and royalties.

While the fame and notoriety surrounding the Zimmermans and Rupurt Murdoch will likely continue to captivate the nation, Matthew S. Poole remains intrigued by even run of mill divorces.  Matthew is an experienced divorce attorney in Jackson MS who treats every client as if their divorce is one worthy of headline news.  Call Matthew today at (601) 573-7429 to begin your divorce the right way.

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