Divorce negotiations in Alabama and around the country are often contentious, and this is especially true when the marital estate involved is significant. High-asset divorce cases can be extremely complex, and they often give rise to protracted and expensive legal battles. However, arguing these matters in court can be a risky undertaking as most divorce laws are written with middle or low-income families in mind. This means judges have far more discretion when divorcing spouses are wealthy.
Property division negotiations can be particularly challenging in high asset divorce cases. Wealthy individuals sometimes move their money before divorce papers are filed, and assets like businesses, investment portfolios and artwork can be difficult to place an accurate value on. Attorneys may call on experts like appraisers and forensic accountants to get to the bottom of these issues, but this can sometimes lead to a battle. Agreeing on child support may also be challenging in these cases as determining the needs of privileged children is something wealthy parents often disagree about.
However, not all divorces involving wealthy spouses are long and acrimonious. Wealthy individuals sometimes choose to settle quickly to put their marriages behind them and move on with their lives. Less fortunate divorcing spouses may not be able to take this approach because their lives are more difficult and every dollar is important.
Preparing for divorce
Experienced family law attorneys could remind their clients that about half of all marriages end in divorce, and they may advise them to act proactively by entering into pre- and postnuptial agreements. These agreements can avoid costly litigation by settling issues like property division and alimony in advance, but they cannot contain provisions dealing with child custody or support. Attorneys could also remind their clients that such agreements that are not basically fair could be difficult to enforce.