Marital disputes leading to dissolution, custody conflicts, and issues following a divorce can become personally overwhelming. Divorces that involve high assets are extremely elaborate, and couples with substantial assets aim to protect their financial interests. Therefore, it is essential to understand the fundamental implications of a high net worth divorce and take several precautionary measures to ensure wealth preservation.
One of the main aspects that complicate high net worth divorces is that the parting spouses typically share accounts, investments, businesses, real estate, and other unique and valuable property. Due to the multitude of these assets, it is imperative to know:
- what property and assets need to be separated
- which are marital
- what is their appropriate value
High asset divorces require the work and efforts of expert witnesses such as appraisers, financial professionals, forensic accountants, and investigators, working together with an attorney specializing in high asset divorces to:
- uncover evidence
- properly value and trace all assets
The Distinct Challenges of a High Net Worth Divorce
Every divorce is unique and brings its particular challenges, typically related to the division of the assets. While circumstances are not always alike, there are specific characteristics that high asset divorces share, following similar patterns:
- Multiple assets - dividing marital property can become a complex process due to the diverse nature of the assets.
- Prenuptial agreements - when found valid (voluntarily entered into) and enforced, they can simplify the property division process and reduce financial complications during separation.
- Child support - while there usually is an algorithm for calculating child support, in the case of high net worth couples, these guidelines do not apply, and the court may order a higher amount that can cover many of the types of child-related expenses that high asset parents incur.
- Alimony - when one spouse is dependent on the other, the high net worth individual may have to provide financial support. The court decides the duration, amount, and form of payment for any awarded alimony, sometimes based on the standard of living settled during the marriage.
- Tax liability - each asset also carries tax implications for each partner after the divorce.
- Hidden assets - spouses in high net worth divorces may attempt to transfer assets or money to a third party, hide assets in secret or offshore accounts, make cash purchases of expensive property, or delay bonuses or raises until after the divorce.
- Dividing businesses - if the couple contributed to their development, businesses and professional practices are then considered marital assets and have to be appropriately valued and divided.
- Dividing retirement benefits - pensions and 401(k)s must also be adequately valued and divided.
Meticulous Preparation Helps You Better Navigate Your High Net Worth Divorce
The larger the couple's property, the more time-consuming are the challenges to overcome. Fortunately, careful planning can significantly reduce the stress levels and complexities associated with a high net worth divorce.
Protecting your assets requires making necessary arrangements in advance, so when a high net worth divorce is imminent, you should begin taking some fundamental steps to ensure that you have the best chance of reaching a favorable divorce resolution:
- Get organized - gather all your documents in an accessible manner, including financial forms, bank statements, paycheck flyers, and anything else you consider essential. You should also prepare your settlement records and parenting plans.
- Compile a list of assets - an inventory kept up-to-date can be of great help in determining ownership and what could eventually be divided.
- Abstain from excessive spending - try not to withdraw large amounts of cash before the divorce is completed, and if you find out your spouse is doing so, let your attorney know.
- Keep your expenses transparent - the transfer of valuable assets to a third party, for instance, can be seen as fraudulent, and you may risk losing your credibility.
- Steer clear of comparison - try not to compare your case to anyone else's, as each high net divorce case is different, and the outcomes vary.
- Get proficient representation at once - a skilled lawyer will navigate the significant legal and financial intricacies of divorce to ensure a fair asset distribution and a bright and secure future for you.
With these considerations in mind, preparation takes on great importance for high net worth couples considering getting a divorce.
What Will The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary Do for Your High Net Worth Divorce Case?
Protecting your interests in a high net worth divorce is not always easy, but it is crucial. The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary has the experience, resources, and dedication to help you achieve your financial objectives and preserve your wealth. Contact us today for a free consultation, and we will explain:
- what options you can pursue
- what the likely outcome will be for your case
We understand how stressful a high net worth divorce can become and thus strive to provide our clients with adequate guidance and support to navigate these challenging family disputes.