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Kobe Bryant's divorce and the differences between CA and MN divorce law

Kobe Bryant's wife of 10 years may be looking at a sizeable settlement because the party lacked a prenuptial agreement. Kobe Bryant is worth approximately $150 million, and Vanessa Bryant may see $75 million of that money, as well as spousal support and child support.

The divorce is taking place in California, which, unlike Minnesota, is a "community property" state. This means that both parties are entitled to half of the property acquired during marriage. Furthermore, in long-term marriages (such as one lasting ten years), the supported spouse is allowed to maintain the standard of living that he or she became accustomed to during marriage. Vanessa Bryant may also be entitled to permanent spousal support.

The Kobe Bryant divorce may have played out differently in Minnesota. Minnesota divorce law differs from California divorce law in many ways.

  • Property division: Minnesota is an "equitable distribution" state. This means that the court will make a "just and equitable division" of all marital property (property acquired before the divorce). This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. As in California, the court will look at a number of factors to determine how property should be divided, such as the length of the marriage, the age, health and occupation of the spouses, the vocational skills/employability of each spouse, and the contributions of each spouse.
  • Spousal support (alimony/spousal maintenance): In Minnesota, a court can grant spousal maintenance if it finds that the supported spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs considering the standard of living established during marriage, or cannot provide adequate self-support through appropriate employment. The court has discretion to determine the duration of spousal support and considers many factors when doing so.
  • Prenuptial agreements: Like in California, parties can limit spousal maintenance and determine how property will be divided by drafting a prenuptial agreement. In order to have a valid prenuptial agreement, both parties must have the opportunity to discuss the agreement with an attorney, there must be full disclosure of each party's financial circumstances and the agreement must be fair and equitable.

Are you considering drafting a prenuptial agreement? Are you going through a Minnesota divorce? An experienced family law attorney can help you make smart choices now to protect your future.

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