Whether you are familiar with divorce law or you have just been keeping up with the latest headlines, you are probably familiar with the term “divorce tourism.” It is exactly what it sounds like. Spouses make the trip to a different state or even nation in order to experience a more beneficial divorce. These benefits could be financial in nature, but couples might also be attracted by a speedier process. The real question is whether it is even worth it in the first place. Should couples really ditch their home state just to get divorced?
London Has Become an International Hotspot for Divorce Tourism
The latest headlines involving divorce tourism all seem to point toward London, England. In 2013, Forbes called the city the “top destination” for spouses who wanted to divorce. But why is this? The trend is simple: Wives of very wealthy men go to London in order to get a better deal. These wives may come from Malaysia, various Arab countries, Russia, and so on. The logic is simple: The United Kingdom (specifically London) is more likely to be sympathetic toward women in their situation. As a result, they are more likely to walk away with a solid deal.
The jurisdiction has a long history of awarding multi-million-dollar settlements to various women – settlements that they probably would not have received in their home nation. So, if you were to ask these women, divorce tourism definitely is worth it. Even spouses from the United States are flocking to London in some cases. Generally speaking, “shopping around” for a more favorable court is frowned upon. It is why you are not allowed to hold a criminal trial in a jurisdiction that is obviously biased. But in this case, it seems, spouses have the green light.
Is Divorce Tourism Worth it Within the United States?
The real question is whether divorce tourism is worth it for the average American couple. Spouses might flock to London in hopes of a few extra million pounds, but what about a couple who is just barely scraping by? In this case, it is probably not worth flying “over the pond,” but what about a different state altogether?
Many couples who engage in divorce tourism are motivated not by higher settlements but quicker resolutions. It is no secret that some states force spouses to wait many months before getting divorced. North Carolina, for example, has a minimum one-year separation period before spouses can move forward with their divorces. Even if you take into account the six-month residency requirements for most states, it still might make sense for spouses to leave and seek a quicker divorce in another state.
Some couples might even feel excited about a six-month vacation to another state – especially if they have the ability to work remotely (an increasingly common situation). Spouses could also be motivated by money, however. After all, many states have very different policies when it comes to alimony and property division – which could prompt some spouses to try a different jurisdiction for their divorces.