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High asset divorce is about more than assets and finances

When divorce happens between two successful people with wealth, it can become contentious. If you are famous, it is even more important to have an amicable parting. Such is seemingly the case between Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith, both Hollywood celebrities.

The two issued a statement to TODAY, saying, "'We have thoughtfully and consensually decided to finalize our almost twenty years marriage in a loving and friendly manner, honoring and respecting each other, our family and friends and the beautiful time we have spent together."

Ms. Griffith is seeking sole custody of their 17-year-old daughter. This is unusual, as their daughter will turn 18 in two months. As older children typically have a say in where they want to be, there may be more to the petition than simple custody. Older teens, especially those that are driving, tend to "vote with their feet" regarding custodial arrangements in a divorce. What is the real message here? Sole custody is unusual in a friendly divorce. Setting a strong tone from the beginning of this high asset divorce is probably more telling than Ms. Griffith or Mr. Bandaras want it to be.

Joint custody or shared custody would be a more logical an amicable option, especially for a 17-year-old who has been raised by both her mother and father. The final decision is often determined by the planning and execution of the divorce. Sole custody is definitely a fighting term.

It could be that the couple spoke of this before the divorce, but that has not been made evident at all. Sole custody in a high asset divorce alludes to the possibility that they may not be as friendly and amicable as the statement they issued would lead us to believe. Griffith doesn't say how concerned she is about her financial assets, but that may come out later.

To protect your assets and your children in a divorce, you may need the assistance of a legal professional.

Source: Huffington Post, "Just how amicable Is Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas' divorce?" June 19, 2014

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