All divorces, no matter the value of a couple’s net worth, are difficult—both emotionally and financially. For couples with limited or clearly defined assets, deciding what’s yours, mine, and ours in a divorce isn’t as complicated as assigning the assets of couples with a high-net worth or those who have complex property or a business to divide. “Whether or not a couple has high net-worth, when it comes to divorce, all couples face similar issues and have to go through the same steps to a certain degree,” says Jim Mueller, and a family law attorney with Verner Brumley Mueller Parker PC. “However, divorce becomes more complicated if there is an obvious distinction between the moneyed and non-moneyed spouse in terms of how everything is divided. The primary goal is to not lose the wealth you’ve spent your lifetime accumulating by fighting over everything. The fees for lawyers, forensic accountants, and CPAs can add up quickly and, before you know it, there’s not much left to divide.”
When couples with a high net-worth decide to divorce, determining the value of their assets (and who owns which asset) is something that is best left to family lawyers with extensive experience in complex divorces. For instance, says Mueller, $500,000 in a savings account is different in value from $500,000 in a 401K. “It’s an all-hands-on-deck type of divorce,” he says. “By this, I mean that it often takes a team of experts in various fields to determine the value of each asset or the value of a business. With the impending new tax laws in divorce that affect alimony, there will be even more of a need to hire a firm with complex and high-net-worth divorce experience.” If you are considering a divorce and think you likely fall into the category of “high net-worth” or “complex divorce,” Mueller suggests considering the following tips.
When couples with a high net-worth decide to divorce, determining the value of their assets (and who owns which asset) is something that is best left to family lawyers with extensive experience in complex divorces.