Every divorce presents complications, like a difficult child custody situation or just a lot of bitterness between the parties. High-asset divorces are no different, except they include unique challenges, especially concerning division of marital assets. Below, we discuss some examples.
Couples with modest income, no businesses or major investments, and no real estate beyond their marital home don’t often lose track of their property. That can make it difficult for a dishonest person to hide something.
Securing assets can be far more challenging when there is a massive estate to consider. A recent New York Times article about the divorce of a billionaire couple highlights this fact. In this article, the author describes a husband who removed 200M worth of art from the marital residence one afternoon.
Getting on the same page
High-asset divorces also require parties to appraise businesses and track multiple streams of revenue, producing estimated values that vary significantly. It is similar to litigation over spousal maintenance, especially in a State (like Arizona) that has no rigid guidelines for alimony. This leaves tremendous discretion to the trial judge, hinders the ability of an attorney to predict what might happen at trial, and leads to different perspectives of what is “reasonable.”
Affluent couples often own collections, investments, various real estate properties, and stocks. These items can be difficult to split two ways, especially when their collective value (e.g. a stamp, coin, or baseball card collection) is far greater than the sum of their individual parts.
It is never a bad idea to speak to an attorney anyway, but especially when the litigation or negotiations to come all but guarantee complexity, and require a significant comfort level with financial problems such as accounting and valuation.