What next for Tiger Woods? Celebrity breakups often extra bumpy

Tiger Woods and wife Elin, with daughter Sam, attend an NCAA football game in Stanford, Calif., last month. They likely face trying days ahead if they divorce, experts say. (The Associated Press file)

Your husband is rich, famous and can't keep his hands off cocktail waitresses. You decide to divorce him. What's your next step?

Hire a good lawyer. Yours likely will be a complicated breakup.

If Elin Nordegren Woods indeed does decide to divorce 33-year-old golf legend Tiger Woods, she could be in for a long, bumpy ride.

High-profile couples face all the gut-wrenching decisions that confront other divorcing couples — kids, visitation, how to divide property and debts — according to Central Florida family lawyers and attorneys who have handled celebrity divorces in Florida.

The rich and famous also have their own particular set of problems.

How do you keep reporters from pawing through your financial records? Is that prenuptial agreement valid, or should it be challenged?

Then there is the sheer bulk of the property to be divided. Tiger Woods is one of the richest men in the history of professional sports. Forbes magazine estimates his net worth at $600 million and his annual income at $100 million.

California vs. Florida

As of Friday, neither Elin nor Tiger Woods had filed for divorce in Orange County, where both were registered to vote in 2008 and where they share ownership of a 6,800-square-foot home in Isleworth worth $2.4 million, according to local court and property records.

It was not clear, however, where their divorce paperwork might pop up. Although they live in Isleworth and Tiger, through a trust, owns a second home there, Tiger bought an exclusive Jupiter Island compound in Martin County. It was valued at $38 million when it was purchased in 2006, records show.

Tiger is from California. Elin is from Sweden but became a U.S. citizen when she married Woods.

Elin most likely would fare better with a California divorce than a Florida one, attorneys say.

California is a "community property" state, meaning all income produced during a marriage must be split 50-50, Stanford University family-law professor Richard Banks told the Los Angeles Times.

Under Florida law, "you have to divide the assets equitably, but that doesn't necessarily mean equally," he said. "In fact, the greater the pot of money, the less likely a court is to split it evenly."

In Florida, the spouse who earned the family's income "generally gets to keep it," although the other spouse's lifestyle during the marriage comes into play, Banks said.

Efforts to reach Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, were unsuccessful Friday.

A wreck and a crash

Divorce became a topic for Woods after a recent whirlwind of events. A national tabloid broke a story that the golfer had had an extramarital affair with a New York club hostess.

Then at 2:35 a.m. Nov. 27, Woods drove a Cadillac Escalade into a hedgerow, over a fire hydrant and into his neighbor's tree in Isleworth.