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Tips for your high asset divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce is never an easy process, even when you have a decent relationship with your spouse. Even simple divorces often involve complex feelings, so complicated divorces, such as high asset divorces, can be even more overwhelming.

A high asset divorce is generally considered to be a divorce involving over one million dollars in assets, although in today’s world, that number is steadily increasing.

What makes a high asset divorce different

There are several characteristics of a high asset divorce that make the process more complicated. High asset divorces usually involve a wide variety of assets, which means there are often more legal rules that must be followed.

For example, consider the difference between a divorcing couple whose only major asset is a house versus a couple who owns several houses, retirement accounts and different types of investment accounts. Dividing those different types of assets is likely going to involve different sections of the law.

Valuing assets can become complex in a high asset divorce. There may be unique pieces of personal property that need to be valued, such as jewelry or artwork.

Additionally, many wealthy individuals hold their assets in many different geographical areas, even overseas. The law involved in a high asset divorce might depend on where an asset is located, compared to an average divorce which involves only New York law.

The high asset divorce process

Although these considerations must be kept in mind, the high asset divorce process involves the same steps as any other New York divorce.

These steps include identifying marital property and debts and splitting them in an equitable, or fair, manner. Marital property is any property that is acquired during the marriage, while separate property is property acquired before the marriage or after separation.

There are some exceptions to this rule. Generally, separate property can become marital property if it mixes with another piece of marital property.

This is another factor that can make a high asset divorce more complicated. You may hold several investments in different types of accounts, and a simple transfer of funds from one account to another could suddenly convert one account into a piece of marital property.

Once property is identified, it must be valued. In simple divorces, the value of property can sometimes be calculated using prior tax statements or even a rough estimate if both spouses agree on it.

In a high asset divorce, valuations can become much more cumbersome. The use of financial experts to conduct valuations is often necessary.

Take the time to do it right

The final step is splitting the property, but the more property there is to divide, the more complicated the process can get. Every divorce involves patience and this is more important in a high asset divorce since the overall process may take longer.

It should come as no surprise to learn that negotiating the split of several assets often takes longer than splitting one or two. Staying patient and maintaining a respectful relationship with your spouse during this time can go a long way toward reaching a successful resolution.