At Harr Law, we specialize in high-asset divorce cases. But despite what the name implies, a high-asset divorce is less about the total value of your assets and more about how diverse and complex your assets are. If you’re heading into a divorce and have complex assets in your marriage, here are a few things that you need to consider.
What’s Considered Complex?
First, let’s discuss what is considered a complex or high-asset divorce. Of course, high value and high diversity in your assets frequently go hand in hand; if you own multiple properties, have a large stock portfolio, or own a business or other investments, it’s natural that this level of complexity would also have a high value. However, there’s no set dollar amount that makes your divorce a high-asset divorce.
If your assets are fairly straightforward—a mutual savings account, a marital home, and personal possessions, for example—then it’s likely not considered a high-asset divorce. However, if you have a much broader portfolio than this, you’ll probably want to find a divorce attorney specializing in high-asset cases.
Why Do You Need a Specialist?
Now, you might be wondering why you need a divorce attorney specializing in high-asset divorces. Simply put, seeing a divorce attorney without experience in high-asset cases would be much like seeing a general practitioner for a neurological disorder. These cases are highly complex and require a level of knowledge and experience that many divorce lawyers don’t have.
When handling cases with a wide variety of high-value assets, attention to detail matters. You need an attorney who is familiar with valuing a business, digging up hidden assets, and dealing with other common issues that are unique to high-asset divorces.
Are Your Expectations Realistic?
In any divorce, it’s important to maintain realistic expectations. However, this is especially important for high-asset cases, where the higher value of your estate can somewhat skew perspectives. If you’re the primary income earner in your relationship, you might feel entitled to a vast majority of the financial assets, or you might expect to pay no more than the average in spousal support. However, this is rarely the case in a high-asset divorce. On the other hand, if you’re the financially dependent spouse, you may want certain holdings in the divorce but not understand the risk or liability connected with certain kinds of properties.
It’s important that you manage your expectations in relation to the size of your estate. A divorce attorney experienced in cases like yours can help give you a better understanding of what to expect in your divorce outcome.
What Are Your Settlement Options?
In standard divorce cases, property division is more or less straightforward. While there may be some negotiating over certain pieces of property, asset division is essentially straight down the middle. Division of property in a high-asset divorce gets more complicated, but it also opens up more settlement options to you. Your attorney can explore creative settlement options that will meet both your and your ex’s needs and interests.
Stocks are one example of a marital asset that can be difficult to divide. Some stock options are not transferrable while others only “vest” at specific times or under specific circumstances. Since stocks cannot always be easily divided down the middle, an experience high-asset divorce attorney can help to find creative settlement options that are still fair to both parties.
Are There Pre-Marital Assets to Consider?
Finally, it’s important to consider whether or not you have pre-marital assets that you wish to keep. Income or properties that were given to you in an inheritance, or that you brought into the marriage and kept under your own name, are legally considered separate property. However, you’ll need very clear documentation to establish that this is a separate asset from your marital assets. Establishing clear, individual ownership can allow you to keep these funds or properties without interfering with fair and equal division of the remaining marital assets.
A high-asset divorce isn’t complicated because there’s a higher amount of money at stake—though that is also partially true. It’s complicated because the assets can be so widely varied, and each unique asset requires attention and negotiation. If you want to ensure that you are treated fairly in your high-asset divorce, contact Harr Law. We specialize in these kinds of cases and we can help you to negotiate a fair settlement with your ex and their attorney. Call to schedule your consultation today.