Divorce is never easy, but when large amounts of money are involved, the process becomes much more complicated. A high-net-worth divorce is a divorce in which one or both spouses have a large amount of net liquid assets, usually more than one million dollars. There is an exhaustive list of considerations in high net worth divorce cases, such as whether the assets are premarital or marital property. Roadblocks in the process may arise if there is conflict regarding ownership of property or hidden finances.
Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding the division of property during a divorce. In Maryland, judges do not always equally divide marital property. Maryland is an equitable distribution state and the court will attempt to divide the property fairly among each spouse, but this is not necessarily a 50/50 split. Marital property includes real property, such as a home or land, and property that one or both partners acquired during the marriage. There are some exceptions to the marital property rule, such as an inheritance or gift from a third party given to one spouse.
What Makes High Net Worth Divorces Different?
High net worth divorce cases pose some distinct complications that are not as common in divorce cases where couples have little to no high-value marital assets. A high net worth spouse may possess both domestic and international assets that the court will need to decide how to divide fairly.
From vehicles and homes to jewelry and stocks, each asset must be verified, valued and divided based on various factors. Due to the large amount of assets involved in these cases, the discovery and valuation process is typically more time-consuming and costly than a standard divorce.
Ideally, individuals should handle the division of property and debt during a high net worth divorce more like a business deal. This means leaving emotion out of the equation and keeping a mathematical mindset that allows each person to walk away with a fair amount of marital assets.
Common Concerns During A Divorce
Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, other aspects of the separation may be impacted by having a high net worth. Child custody is one such issue that most people with children will encounter during divorce proceedings.
In addition to arranging a child custody agreement that both parents can agree on, one parent may be entitled to child support payments. Divorce should not affect a child’s standard of living. This means that the court may order one parent to pay enough in child support to allow the child to maintain their regular routine.
Another area that may be affected by a high-net-worth divorce relates to prenuptial agreements. If one spouse had a large net worth before marriage, he or she may have required a prenup before marriage. This agreement signed by both parties ensures that certain assets remain the sole property of one partner.
Alimony may be awarded to one partner during a divorce to enable the recipient spouse to become self-supporting. In Maryland, these payments are usually in the form of “rehabilitative alimony,” meaning they are only in place for a specified period of time to allow the recipient spouse time to get a job or return to school and earn a degree.
Preparing For A High Net Worth Divorce
If a couple knows that a divorce is imminent, it is time to start thinking about how to handle marital finances. Ideally, partners should work together to determine how assets will be divided during a divorce. However, if there are disagreements on property division or other aspects of divorce, a mediator or judge may step in to resolve these issues.
There are several things that people should and should not do when going through a high net worth divorce. First, never attempt to hide any money or assets from the other spouse or the court. Not only is this dishonest, but it can have a negative impact on property division if the assets are discovered later on.
When dealing with a high net worth divorce, spouses should not be in a hurry to settle quickly. Although a divorce can be an emotional and stressful time, it is important to approach property division with a clear head to avoid making bad decisions that may have short-term and long-term consequences.
Reach Out To A High Asset Divorce Attorney
One of the best decisions that a person can make when going through a high-net-worth divorce is seeking legal counsel. Hire a high asset divorce attorney that will provide protection and guidance throughout the divorce proceedings. A high asset divorce attorney will conduct an appraisal of all residential, investment and commercial properties and negotiate on behalf of the client to ensure a fair and satisfactory outcome. For more information about navigating a high net worth divorce or to request a consultation with an experienced high asset divorce attorney, reach out to SIEGELLAW.