Going through a divorce always is difficult. Not only do those facing divorce often go through an emotional roller coaster as their marriage ends, but they also face financial stress. For those who have significant assets, a divorce can be even more challenging.
In fact, high-asset couples face unique problems when going through a divorce, including the following:
- How to divide property and assets. The more property and types of assets you and your spouse have, the more difficult it will be to divide those. This is especially true if you and your spouse have assets that aren’t liquid: perhaps stock options, travel points or a country club membership. Or if you own a rare art collection or custom furniture, you can also face difficulty establishing a fair value for those items.
- How to value a business you own. If you or your spouse own a business together, you will have to split the value of that business (unless you have a partnership agreement or postnuptial agreement that specifies what happens if you divorce). You will need to establish your business’ value and decide if one of you will buy the other out of their share of owning the business.
- How child support and spousal support will be set. For couples who have high assets, child support levels easily can go beyond the standard formula. For example, your child attend private school or have a full-time, live-in nanny, expenses that you and your spouse will need to split. If you took time away from your career to raise your children while your spouse worked a high-powered job, you may be eligible for spousal support. The standard of living you and your spouse enjoyed will impact both child support and spousal support levels.
- If your spouse is trying to hide assets. When a couple has significant assets, one spouse might be more likely to try to hide those, to avoid having to split assets more equitably. You will need to watch closely to ensure that your spouse doesn’t give any assets away suddenly or claims some of your assets no longer exist.
Working through a divorce when you and your spouse have significant assets often will take more time than a traditional divorce. You will need to be patient and work closely with your attorney to ensure you overcome these challenges so you can move forward.