Many couples struggle with the emotional aspects of divorce and just want it to end. In a high asset divorce, division of assets can lengthen the process and create complexities requiring special expertise.
High asset divorces typically include businesses, property assets, and investments requiring fair and equitable division. These situations also require significant research into each person’s holdings since either spouse could have hidden assets.
Many of these divorces also include pre- and post-nuptial agreements and the attorneys must examine and validate the agreement, then ensure the asset division upholds it appropriately.
Specific Areas of Concern and Care in High Asset Divorce
High asset divorces include numerous special problems that could lengthen the divorce proceedings if not handled appropriately. Entering into the process of dissolving the marriage knowing these issues and how best to handle them can keep your quick, quiet divorce on track and provide a better resolution for everyone involved.
Protecting Reputation with Mutual Respect
In divorce as in politics the temptation exists to name-call and mudsling. Avoid that at all costs. Neither party helps themselves in the divorce courts or the court of public opinion by doing so. As amicable as you can make your divorce, do so.
Both parties should continue making their previously scheduled public appearances. Both should attend their children’s school and extracurricular activities and events. The couple need not attend them together; you simply both show up and treat one another respectfully. Speak with those close to you to ensure they understand the positive experience you want to achieve out of what many consider a negative event.
The public need not consider the dissolution of marriage negative though since often dissolving the union. And living separately provides a peaceful co-existence that the couple could not achieve while living under the same roof. Divorce allows both parties to move on with their life and choose new partners with whom they do have a positive, healthy relationship.
A high asset divorce has become synonymous with a society divorce. Few people amass high assets without becoming well known. In this aspect, consider your reputation and that of your partner as the most important asset either of you or your family own. Conduct your divorce in a high-class manner that matches your assets and societal standing.
Focus on keeping your family as a whole in a mentally healthy place and consider counseling for children and teens. So they understand that the dissolution of your marriage does not equal the dissolution of your family.
Your attorneys and their staffs as well as any private investigators, property and asset appraisers, certified public accountants, and forensic accountants you hire will contribute or detract from this goal. Ensure you choose wisely an empathetic yet savvy attorney. A lawyer who handles all aspects with a respectful nature and with experience in high asset divorce cases will handle the property division, business, and investment division, the child custody and support, and the spousal support issues with aplomb.
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Depending on the state in which you reside, the law may require an equitable distribution, a legal term meaning an equal distribution of all assets and liabilities. These states split everything 50/50. This often requires a forensic accountant to identify and classify the assets and investments.
One or both parties may have purchased items individually without knowledge of the other spouse. Other items they purchased jointly. Unless you comingled the assets, the assets with which an individual entered the marriage remain safe. For example, if you inherited a trust fund before marriage and never touched its contents, it remains solely yours.
If you withdrew money from it to purchase a home you shared with your spouse. Then, you made the home marital property even though you purchased it with money you already had separate from the marriage.
Dividing Businesses and Investments
An appraiser determines the current, actual value of each business owned by either spouse. The appraisal considers all assets and liabilities of each company in its valuation. Many options exist for dividing the business assets including shared ownership, stock distributions, seats on the board of directors, selling the business, and dividing the proceeds.
A forensic accountant or a CPA studies the investments of both parties. This includes liquid and non-liquid assets such as bonds, stocks, cryptocurrency, retirement accounts, life insurance policies with cash value accounts, and investment properties.
Child Custody and Support Payments
Custody and visitation rights comprise one of the most contentious items in any divorce in which the marriage resulted in a joint family. The most amenable choice, joint custody, couples sometimes find it impossible for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps one parent travels often for work or has medical issues which preclude them functioning as a custodial parent. In these cases, the couple and court must determine the appropriate custodial parent and the supporting parent.
The custodial parent lives with the child or children, providing day-to-day care. The supporting parent pays child support, a financial payment made through the court system on a monthly basis that provides for the child’s needs.
In high asset divorces, the calculation for this amount includes many complexities such as private school tuition, nanny salaries, college tuitions, extracurricular activity payments. The higher-earning parent typically pays support. Traditionally, courts placed children with their mother, however, exceptions occur. The court determines which parent would provide a healthier home for the children.
Negotiating this out of court provides the best solution since it can keep unwanted information, such as substance abuse by one parent or mental health issues, out of the public knowledge. Testimony in court becomes a matter of public record, so closed-door negotiations provide the best solution.
The higher-earning parent must pay alimony in most cases. High asset divorces do not use the same formula for calculation of this monthly payment as normal divorces. The lower-earning spouse’s monthly support payment typically provides adequate income for them to continue living life at the same level they did during the marriage.
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Finding the Right Lawyer
Considering all of these points, you can understand why assembling the appropriate legal team proves vital to a successful, quiet divorce. You can ask close, trusted friends who went through a divorce for recommendations. The quieter and more amicable their divorce went, the better sign that their representation handled things appropriately.
Dissolution of marriage never proves simple and a high asset divorce includes many complicating factors. But you can weather those issues and amicably resolve to leave separately and peacefully with the right help.