Challenges Unique to a High Net Worth Divorce, Part 1

All divorces come with difficulties, whether you are a pauper or a prince. Low-income families, for example, may struggle with support. One person may have little to give, and the other may need more than they receive. Perhaps property distribution causes issues as well. There may not be much property to divide, and both spouses need what little they have.

On the opposite end, you have families with high assets. One person wants to keep any wealth they accumulated, but the other wants to continue living within their accustomed lifestyle. There may be plenty of property to go around, but it’s difficult to determine who, exactly, owns what.

If you are facing a high-asset divorce, here are some difficulties you may encounter. You will also find some helpful tips for facing these struggles.

There Is No Prenuptial Agreement

Marital contracts often protect the money within a marriage. They can determine exactly what property is shared or separate. These documents also keep marriages separate from business concerns, protecting companies rather than individuals.

If there is no prenuptial arrangement, you can take your divorce to mediation. During this process, one attorney works for both parties. Neither spouse tries to “win” or “beat the other.” Mediation is a kind of negotiation that attempts to meet everyone’s needs and keep the divorce fair.

There Are Hidden Assets

It’s common for someone in a high-net-worth marriage to hide assets. This is an attempt to keep more property after the divorce is finalized. Either spouse can be guilty of this practice.

If you suspect your spouse of hiding property, be upfront. Work with your attorney, and find a good way to directly ask them if they are doing this. If they are resistant, this may be a sign that they’re guilty.

Once you meet this resistance, get your lawyer on the case. A skilled attorney can trace and track down assets. If they find evidence of hidden assets, they can officially accuse your spouse in court. Doing so can work in your favor, getting you a better outcome in the divorce.

Feelings of Entitlement

Family law can be difficult to manage. Emotions are so entangled in the process. People often want outcomes to appease their negative feelings, disregarding the objective fairness of a situation.

People often feel they deserve something in a divorce, especially when the family has accumulated wealth. One person feels like they did all the work and made all the money, and the other believes they “gave up everything” for their spouse.

In these situations, it’s important to keep everything in perspective. A homemaker may not bring in income, but they devoted their lives to the upkeep and beautification of the house. A hard-working professional helped keep that homemaker safe, fed, clothed, and very comfortable.

Both of you contributed to this marriage, and you both deserve to walk away from it satisfied. If at all possible, try one more time to work as a team. Keep the entire history of the marriage in mind, and don’t just focus on any current feelings of resentment or betrayal.

You can find more examples in Part 2 of this series.

Ford & Friedman is here to help with every aspect of your divorce. To set up time with our firm, contact us online or call us now at (702) 904-9898.