The Tom Cruise Divorce: Why Did Katie File In New York?

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Saturday, July 14, 2012.

The state of filing can have a big impact on the outcome of your divorce. Many people don’t have a choice. But if one party moves to another state, there may be a choice as to where to file.

Is one state better than another? Child support awards in California are typically higher than Florida, and Texas is rumored to be tough on alimony. Last year Bloomberg ranked all 50 states on the ease of divorce. You can read the ranking in: The Best and Worst States for Getting Divorced.

Which brings me back to the Tom Cruise divorce. Katie could have filed in New York or California, assuming she satisfied either state’s residency requirements. So, why New York over California?

I don’t think the reason has to do with the grounds for divorce, or any economic advantage. After all, New York and California, like Florida, are no-fault states, and Tom and Katie are believed to have a prenuptial agreement anyway.

I suspect one of the reasons is privacy. Unlike California or Florida, divorce filings in New York are not open to the public, so only the parties and their attorneys have access to documents filed with the court.

In an effort to protect the privacy of parties to a divorce, and prevent identity theft, Florida recently adopted a confidentiality rule to better protect social security and bank account numbers for instance. But Florida court filings are not private. Privacy – and confidentiality of court filings – are easily overlooked issues when filing for divorce, and something you should be aware of in deciding in which state to file.