High Net Worth Divorces vs. Typical Divorces

Assets always complicate matters in a divorce. When one or both individuals have a high net worth, the process of divorce becomes long and drawn out. Dividing assets, determining alimony, and the many conversations and legal battles can leave individuals feeling betrayed, resentful, and emotionally distressed. High net worth divorces often highlight the complexity of finances more than a typical divorce.

Here are some of the distinguishing factors that set these types of divorces apart:

Extended Settlement Time 

High net worth often means couples spend a significant amount of time during the divorce process determining who gets what. Prenuptial agreements, pre-divorce spending sprees, child custody issues, alimony, and other financial issues can take time to work through, particularly if the couple disagrees about the fairness of division. During the process, couples will need to agree on the division of real estate, retirement assets, intellectual property, business assets, vehicles, life insurance, and other complex assets that affect both parties.

With so many potential factors in a high net worth case, couples should expect extended timeframes to finalize a divorce.

The Need for Multiple Attorneys

Couples that do not have many diversified assets may easily divide them in a fair way. However, when high value real estate, business, or other assets enter the scene, an individual may need more than an experienced divorce attorney. Accountants, planning experts, and corporate attorneys may all serve as consultants, helping someone of high net worth create fair terms for splitting assets.

Determining Child Support Payments

The courts may look at income generation differently in a high net worth divorce because many of these individuals do not fall under the category of a W2 employee. Instead, a forensic accountant may come into the picture to determine the controllable cash flow of a high net worth individual. Accurate income evaluation often prevents high net worth individuals from overpaying for child support on a regular basis.

Alimony for the Non-High Net Worth-Earning Spouse

For spouses of high net worth individuals, the divorce process often means securing enough from the settlement to survive. This means you're entitled to enough of the estate to maintain the same living standard you enjoyed during the marriage for a limited time, while you work toward self-sufficiency. This often becomes a pain point in high net worth divorce cases that requires experienced legal guidance to obtain a fair outcome.

Every High Net Worth Case Is Unique 

Some divorces follow the same pattern. High net worth divorces cases rarely do. These couples include celebrities, entrepreneurs, executives, and business owners. They have worked hard over the years to earn money and may not have considered divorce as an eventuality.

As a result, divorce attorneys in these cases must have a keen understanding of the issues that complicate high net worth cases as well as the laws that help couples find fair settlements so they can move forward. They must also understand child support laws as they affect high net worth families. Every case requires meticulous attention, and the best attorneys find answers that help everyone involved in the divorce move forward without bitterness.

There is one thing high net worth cases do have in common with traditional divorce cases: the separation of people and their lives. Regardless of financial assets or fame, you're dissolving a marriage, which is almost always emotionally distressing. You need an attorney who understands the complexity of high net worth divorce cases and can look at your case with compassion and understanding.

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Comment by Leonard Rogers on January 23, 2016 at 7:57am

Nice article I had got similar article on a website .

Comment by Karie Boyd on December 4, 2015 at 1:07pm

You are very welcome!  Thanks so much for the kind words...

Comment by Martha Chan on December 4, 2015 at 12:56am

Nice article. Thanks.

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