Under normal circumstances, divorce often proves to be a challenging process requiring the separating parties to resolve several pertinent legal, personal, and financial duties.
That said, divorcing when the couple enjoyed high net-worth status might prove even more difficult based on the sheer number and complexity of the assets involved.
High Net-Worth Divorce Definition
As the title might suggest, high net-worth divorces are those in which the splitting parties possess a significant degree of assets. Specifically, many legal professionals categorize these proceedings as involving the allocation of more than $1 million worth of assets beyond a marital home.
Assets Eligible For Distribution
Many parting spouses wonder if every single, solitary asset they possess will be subject to division during the separation process. Only the couple’s marital holdings are subject to split.
Marital assets are defined as the possessions and property the parties accumulated while they were married and include vehicles, real estate, investments, and retirement savings. Anything they owned or acquired before marriage is not considered marital property generally.
The Differences Between Typical And High-End Splits
Any reputable divorce attorney will inform prospective clients that breakups involving couples fortunate enough to hold more than $1 million in marital assets, such as cash, investments, property, jewelry, artwork, transportation crafts like vehicles and boats, homes, show dogs, racehorses, or any other lucrative possession are often more complex than typical separations for several reasons including
Usually, high-end partings require significant time to resolve. The process of identifying assets, valuing assets, addressing tax implications, and either reaching a reasonable agreement or completing court proceedings can prove time-consuming, expensive, and can be confusing as well as hotly contested. These issues will necessitate the participation of numerous skilled professionals beyond the parties’ attorneys.
Marriage dissolution is never easy for the families of parting spouses, especially their minor children. That said, well-to-do separations often involve notable or famous individuals receiving extensive media coverage. Under such circumstances, the general public is often given a play-by-play description of the events, which could take a tremendous emotional toll on family members or other close associations.
High net-worth divorces are going to cost more than the average split costs. Legal and financial professionals attribute this to the fact that said individuals will be dividing more property and the process of sorting through and identifying these assets might require the involvement of skilled persons, such as accountants, forensics specialists, appraisers, investigators, and their lawyers.
The Property Division Process
Like all other breakups, high net-worth splits must be completed per the laws of the state where at least one party resided.
Typically, the laws in most states afford splitting parties the opportunity to resolve their separation amicably without court involvement. That said, such proceedings are still subject to a process.
Cordial agreements usually begin with each side hiring an experienced divorce or family lawyer to represent their interests and negotiate on their behalf. Upon obtaining legal representation, the separating parties then must identify and value all pertinent assets.
Once assets are identified and valued, the spouse and lawyer enter the negotiation phase. In most cases, negotiations will continue until each side is satisfied with the proposed outcome. When the agreement is reached, the attorneys will draw up a Consent Decree and Property Settlement Agreement. Each party will review and approve the Consent Decree and Property Settlement Agreement before it is delivered to the judge.
The judge must still approve the Consent Decree and Property Settlement Agreement. However, if the agreement was legally negotiated and both parties agreed to the terms under their own free will, the judge will typically sign off on it.
Unfortunately, the courts will have to get involved if the parties cannot come to an agreement on all their issues.
In Arizona, marital assets are divided equitably, which generally means each party receives one-half of the assets acquired during the marriage but can mean a different division in certain circumstances to provide for a fair result. . Hiring a good family law attorney can help you determine whether some of your assets meet one of those exceptions.
Should the couple have signed a valid prenuptial contract detailing how asset allocation should be handled in the event of a divorce, the court will be obliged to follow the terms of such an agreement.
Reasons To Hire An Attorney
A high net-worth separation should not be handled alone. An experienced lawyer can help an affluent client identify all pertinent assets, negotiate with their soon-to-be former partner and their legal representation, and if need be, represent them in a trial and any other lawful proceedings.