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What Constitutes a High-Net Worth Divorce?

For people who have a lot of money, there’s a lot more at stake when divorce is on the table. A high-net worth divorce is typically one that involves over $1 million in liquid assets. Of course, today, there are divorces that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and they’re certainly not handled the same way as your average divorce.

There’s a process in divorce that involves identifying all the marital assets and distributing them accordingly. The more assets there are, the more complex this becomes. Not only that, but people who have a lot of money typically have more complex assets from the start, requiring more dedicated attention than other divorce cases.

A high-net worth divorce has a lot at risk and people have worked hard to get where they are, in most cases. As such, they’re going to want to make sure that they’re also protecting themselves with the assistance of a dedicated lawyer to get the best outcome for all of those involved.

Why Are High-Net Worth Divorces More Difficult?

When it comes to divorce, there is a lot more involved than just two people deciding they no longer want to be married. With that comes the division of all of their property, including assets and debts. Naturally, people who have a higher net worth will have more assets and debts, so that can make the division of property more challenging.

In some cases, there’s also a concern about the standard of living. People have gotten used to a certain lifestyle and they can’t be expected to suddenly be without that—in the case of a high-net worth divorce, one spouse might be required to pay alimony to the other to help support this lifestyle until or unless they can gain employment to support themselves.

There are so many factors involved, but the complexities of high-net worth divorces usually come in the division and distribution of assets and debts. In addition to traditional bank accounts, vehicles, and homes, these high-profile divorces may also include:

  • 401(k) accounts
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Real estate or property holdings
  • Business investments
  • Shared businesses
  • Retirement accounts and pensions
  • Benefits

The investment portfolios of high-net worth individuals are also a bit more diverse and complex than the average person, which makes it even more essential to have the right people on your side throughout the divorce process.

Do High-Net Worth Divorces Require Specialized Lawyers?

Although there’s not really such thing as a “high-net worth divorce lawyer,” you can find attorneys who are more experienced with these types of cases. A divorce lawyer who typically works with working-class people or blue-collar divorces will not have all of the necessary experience and expertise that is required of a high-net worth divorce. Dividing assets changes a lot when it goes from having a few thousand dollars in assets to a few million, or even a billion.

Ultimately, people should be focused on getting the best outcome, regardless of what kind of lawyer that requires. For the most part, you’ll want to find someone with experience in this type of case, but you’ll also need to make sure that you get a lawyer that you’re comfortable with.

Other Factors and Concerns

In the case of some high-net worth divorces or separations, one spouse may try to hide assets so that they don’t have to share them. They may have offshore accounts, for example, that they don’t declare in the divorce process. This could lead to an IRS investigation and an inquiry into their actual assets. However, if you didn’t have a lawyer by your side, you might not be able to push for this and get the outcome that you deserve.

There is also a bigger risk of discrepancies and arguments about assets and debts in a divorce where there is bigger money involved. Getting a thorough analysis of the financial situation and the various assets that need to be discussed and divided will be critical to getting the best outcome. You can only get that with the right lawyer on your side.

It’s also important that you do not act based on emotion. It can be hard to do this in divorce, which is such an emotional process, but you need to be making decisions based on facts and in an effort to get an outcome that is fair for everyone involved. With all the pressure and complexity involved in high-net worth divorces, some people agree to terms without thinking to “get it over with” and end up worse off than they could have been otherwise.

Every Case is Different

Whether you’re getting a million-dollar divorce or you’re only going to be dividing a bunch of bills that have piled up in your paycheck-to-paycheck life, you need to make sure that you consider the circumstances of your unique case. You also need to hire an attorney who can look at your case objectively and determine the best course of action to get an outcome that works for everyone and that makes the process smooth and simple.

It doesn’t matter how much money is involved. Divorce is difficult, messy, and something that requires all the assistance that you can find. Talk to an attorney about your divorce and the circumstances of your financial situation so that you know what to expect as you navigate the process. Don’t listen to friends who say they got this or they heard about someone who got that outcome—all you can trust is your own case and that means trusting your attorney.

If you’re dealing with a high-net worth divorce and you want to make sure that your case is resolved in a way that works for everyone, contact the Modern Law team today. We can walk you through the process and discuss all the details to help you get through it with less stress and a better understanding of what to expect along the way. Your soon-to-be ex is going to hire the best lawyer—why wouldn’t you?

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