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Untangling ties that bind after a long San Diego marriage

Any San Diego couple can have conflicts when spouses decide a marriage is over. However, the longer you're married, the more likely you have a considerable amount of marital property. With time, cooperation or even advance planning, assets can be separated fairly.

Spouses have the choice to come to an agreement about property division, but when that doesn't work out, family law courts apply California community property laws. Marital assets and debts are divided equally. That's not as easy as it sounds when former partners have complicated investments.

An 18-year relationship is considered long for anyone, but among celebrities, a marriage of that length is an unusual milestone. That's how long movie stars Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith were married before the actress filed for divorce earlier this month. The couple has one child, who will be 18 in September.

The daughter's age is significant. Griffith has requested child support, which can drop off after a child reaches legal adulthood at 18, but support may last longer when parents agree to extend it or a judge orders it. Griffith has also asked for full physical custody and shared legal custody.

The petition, which cites irreconcilable differences as the reason for the divorce, includes a request for spousal support. Banderas and Griffith will divide a substantial number of properties in the United States and Spain, where Banderas was born. Both spouses were married in the past – Banderas, once, to a Spanish actress and Griffith, three times, including twice to actor Don Johnson, father of her older daughter Dakota.

Divorces are private matters of public record. For high-profile couples, an intrusion by the media adds stress to an often-difficult personal transition. Attorneys can help a divorcing spouse work through each of these issues as privately as possible. When conflicts can't be resolved by mutual agreement, an attorney will represent a spouse's best interests in court.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Melanie Griffith divorcing Antonio Banderas after 18-year marriage" Nardine Saad, Jun. 06, 2014

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