Navigating the complexities of divorce is never easy, but it can be especially difficult if you have a high net worth and complex assets. Couples in this satiation are faced with the challenge of fairly dividing their possessions and trying to start their new lives on an equal footing.
As overwhelming as these issues can be, solving them is not insurmountable. By understanding how courts approach this issue, you can feel more empowered and prepared for your divorce. In this blog, we will provide a broad explanation of ways to manage property division in a high asset divorce.
Evaluating Your Assets
Knowing the value of your assets is a critical first step. This information helps ensure that each party receives their fair share of the marital property.
You should begin by evaluating each asset separately. Whether it's a business, real estate, stocks, or intellectual property, focus on just one, determine its value, and move to the next. Then total everything up and determine how everything fits into the overall shared assets.
Working with a financial professional can help you navigate these complex valuations, understand tax implications, and identify potential hidden assets.
Common Complex Assets Found in High Net Worth Divorces
In any divorce, there are the standard possessions like personal property (jewelry, collectibles, etc.), vehicles, and bank accounts.
In a high asset divorce, we often find complex properties like:
- Real estate
- Digital assets
- Business interests
- Stocks and or bonds
- Retirement accounts
- Intellectual properties
Dividing these assets requires the help of a good attorney. Ford & Friedman understands the intricate details of Nevada’s property division laws. We can help ensure that the division of assets is fair and equitable.
Disclosing Complex Assets to Your Attorney
Make sure you are open, transparent, and honest about all your assets. “Open the books” to all stakeholders. Even minor details can have a significant impact on the outcome of your divorce.
Give your attorney detailed records and documentation, including bank statements, tax returns, and investment portfolios. Make sure to include any unique situations, such as overseas investments or businesses.
The Process of Dividing Assets in Your Divorce
Before you begin, you should know which assets are considered marital property and which are separate property. Then, you must learn how these assets are fairly divided
Marital property typically includes any assets acquired during the marriage.
Separate property includes any assets owned before the marriage or inherited during the marriage. This can also include gifts from people outside the marriage.
Next, research your state’s property division model.
Most states use an “equitable” division system. Both parties receive marital property based on what is fair and reasonable. This includes factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse's contribution to the marriage and/or property, and each spouse's financial circumstances. Equitable division does not divide property equally down the middle. Rather, it accounts for the circumstances surrounding each case.
Far fewer states, including Nevada, use an “equal” division system. This refers to the idea that all marital property should be divided equally between both spouses. Each spouse receives 50% of the assets, regardless of any individual contributions or financial circumstances.
Negotiating a Settlement for Assets in Your Divorce
If you leave it to the courts, they must follow your state’s property division system. This will affect your strategies for what you want to keep or give up. You can always, however, create any divorce agreement you choose with your spouse. If you choose this path, and you are dealing with complex assets, then you should include a mediator in your negotiations.
Be prepared to listen to the other party's perspective, and try to find common ground where you can. Achieving a fair settlement requires give-and-take, so be open to compromise. Your mediator can keep the conversation moving productively, and they can help calm the room when tensions arise.
At Ford & Friedman, our skilled divorce lawyers can help you sort out your complex assets and work toward a fair asset split. If you need assistance, contact us for a consultation. Our number is (702) 904-9898, and you can reach us online.