As we see an increase of divorces later in life, after long-term marriages (i.e. marriages over 15-20 years long), we have also seen an increase in the complexity of the division of marital assets. It is no longer necessarily true that a couple’s most valuable asset is their home – in fact it is increasingly true that divorcing couples own multiple homes and a myriad of other high value assets.
There are many additional considerations that must be taken into account when dealing with a high net worth divorce case such as proper valuation techniques, significant taxation issues, forensic tracing and/or accounting of funds, possible waste of marital assets, and discounts for cash buy-outs, to name a few. These considerations frequently lead to the involvement and management of multiple experts in the case, and this requires collaboration between attorneys, clients, and experts.
Division of complex assets also frequently requires creativity, especially for hard to value assets. Everything is a negotiating tool and an attorney needs to understand how to move the pieces around the settlement table. As the value of the marital estate increases, the discussions typically turn away from traditional arguments over spousal maintenance and child support to reasonable rates of return and incentives for up-front cash buy-outs.
High net worth cases also may involve complicated mixed-asset issues. Property may have been owned before the marriage, or purchased with separate funds during the marriage, and there may be complex issues of tracing and community liens.
If you are considering a divorce and believe you have complex, high value assets to divide, you need an experienced attorney who can negotiate different types of assets and the issues that are associated higher value property.
In our four (4) part blog series this month, we will go through complex financial issues in divorces, ongoing ventures, community interest in separate businesses, and sophisticated compensation plans. Look on our website (http://www.oplaw.com/Blog.aspx) this month each Friday for a new blog in this series.
If you or a loved one are going through a divorce, call us at (480) 630-2464 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys. We can help.