A high-net worth divorce involves assets far more complicated than cash. Executive compensation plans, business interests, rare collections, unique real estate, and other distinctive assets are often part of the portfolio. One partner may have complex assets that the other is unaware of.
Determining how these assets should be valued and divided is a task requiring a level of expertise beyond the average family law practitioner. If you are contemplating divorce in a high-net worth situation, it is a good idea to consult financial experts and to work with an attorney who understands how to anticipate and manage the added challenges.
Valuing Complex Assets
Stock options and other assets with restrictions and future significance can be particularly difficult to accurately value in present dollars. Financial experts know different methods for determining a fair value and creating a plan for dividing property with restrictions.
A financial expert will also know when to consult experts who deal with specific collections such as fine art, jewelry, and motor vehicles.
Locating Hidden or Overlooked Assets
In many divorces, it is helpful to work with a forensic accountant who is experienced in tracing and locating assets that may be hard to find for various reasons. Sometimes, a spouse deliberately tries to hide funds in overseas accounts or through false business transactions.
In other situations, couples acquire assets over such a long period of time that they are not certain they have accounted for everything when they create an inventory. An experienced financial expert uses various strategies to ensure that all of a couple’s assets are located so they can be valued and divided.
Determining Which Property Should Be Classified as Marital
Application of the rules for determining when property must be divided and when one partner keeps an asset as their own separate property becomes more complicated in high-net worth cases. A financial advisor can coordinate with your attorney to help develop the best arguments to support your position regarding assets acquired before marriage or inherited assets that could become hybrid property due to involvement by the other spouse or other issues.
Handling Interests in a Closely-Held Business
When one or both spouses are involved with a closely-held business, property division, alimony, and child support can become extremely complicated. A financial expert familiar with business interests can help ensure that intangible business assets are valued appropriately and that all liabilities are accounted for so that your interests are protected in all aspects of the divorce.
Planning for the Future
The financial futures of both spouses will differ significantly after the divorce. Working with a financial expert can allow partners to develop a realistic plan for the future and help them determine whether it makes financial sense to maintain or dispose of particular assets.
Make Sure Your Divorce Lawyer is Prepared to Work with Financial and Other Experts
In addition to financial experts, many high-net worth couples find it beneficial to work with mental health professionals, business coaches, and other experts during the divorce process. To put yourself in the best position to move forward, you should also work with a divorce attorney who is prepared to communicate and coordinate with other professionals to create the best outcome for your future.
At Koiles Pratt Family Law Group, we recognize and appreciate the value other professionals bring to the divorce process, and we would be happy to talk to you about working with a financial or other professional. Just give us a call.