Challenges faced by pro athletes in marriage can carry over into divorce

Every young athlete dreams of someday making it to the professional level. Yet, while playing professional sports is no doubt rewarding, it also comes with many unique and unexpected challenges.

The rigors of professional sports and the athlete lifestyle can impact both marriage, and divorce. Recognizing this reality and getting the appropriate legal assistance is essential whenever there is a professional athlete involved in a divorce.

Significant assets, weeks on the road, public scrutiny complicate divorce

According to Mark Kreidler of ESPN.com, the divorce rate among all professional athletes is estimated at between 60 and 80 percent. In some high profile divorces, infidelity is to blame. Yet, it's not just the Tiger and Elin Woods' of the professional sports world who end up having to move on from an unsuccessful marriage.

Pro sports come with high stress and a lot of pressure. Athletes must spend a lot of time on the road, away from home. There can be issues with high salaries, out of control spending and focus on life priorities. Any one of these issues can lead to the unwinding of a marriage.

They can also complicate a divorce. Splitting up property in any high-asset divorce can be challenging, and pro athletes often have significant wealth. Highly complex assets - like partial or full ownership in a business - can be difficult to divide. There are also more tax implications to consider in high-asset divorces. And, problems may arise if one partner has attempted to hide significant assets.

The constant moving and traveling involved in the professional athlete life creates a unique dynamic in divorce. Not only can this make it more difficult for the splitting spouses to meet with each other and their attorneys during the divorce process, it will likely affect the terms of any custody and visitation arrangements. Custody and visitation orders that cross state lines are harder to establish and enforce. In addition, a child's relationship with his or her parent, the amount of time the parent will be able to spend with the child and the ability of the parent to provide stability in the child's life are all factors a judge could consider in a custody decision.

Finally, discretion is key in divorces involving pro athletes. Professional sports stars are in the public spotlight, and most couples do not want the details of their divorce splashed across the tabloids. The right family law attorney can help deal with the public relations aspect of a divorce and keep the details private, where they belong.

Going through a divorce as a professional athlete or athlete spouse? Talk to an attorney

Many pro athletes and their spouses go through divorce. But with the right legal help, it is possible to come out of a divorce in a good place. Talk to a family law attorney with experience in pro athlete divorces today to address some of the special challenges you are likely to face.