Divorce Concerns for a Couple with a High Net Worth
As a couple with a high net worth ready to file for divorce, you may be wondering if your divorce case will differ from your average divorce proceedings. While each divorce does differ as no two couples are alike, a high net worth divorce possesses additional concerns due to the substantial amount of assets and property involved. As such, it is imperative to secure the legal services of an experienced high net worth divorce lawyer. Real estate holdings, significant assets, businesses, and inheritances are all areas of a high asset divorce that require careful review and legal representation. Today, we go over the issues that impact a couple with a high net worth during a divorce.
Issues to Consider in a High Net Worth Divorce
The main issue a high net worth couple may face is how to divide their assets, property, and other forms of wealth. When separate property gets commingled and becomes community property, the couple will need to untangle those assets to equally divide their assets. Some additional concerns that impact a high net worth divorce include but are not limited to the following:
Florida follows equitable distribution rules, meaning that during a divorce your marital property will be divided equitably, which does not always equate to equally. Florida courts will consider various factors when dividing property including but not limited to:
- Each spouse’s income
- Duration of the marriage
- Number of children at home
- Each spouse’s earning potential
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
- Debts and assets
Property is then categorized into separate property, or property acquired before marriage, and community property, or property the couple acquired during the marriage. While property division seems straightforward, it is complicated once you consider commingling, or separate property that gets tied up with community property. Dividing separate property from community property is not always easy, especially if you are trying to protect significant assets and inheritances.
One of the challenges that a high net worth couple may face during a divorce is determining which property is considered community property, and thus, subject to division. For example, if you remodel your marital home by using money from your trust, is the marital home still considered community property?
Another challenge a high net worth couple may have to deal with is separating commingling property. This happens when a couple each uses their own assets to make improvements to existing community property. Therefore, if separate property becomes community property during this process, it can be divided accordingly during divorce proceedings.
As a high net worth couple, the possibility that one or both of you own a business or are entrepreneurs is high. So, what happens when you get divorced and are expected to share a percentage of your business? If you own multiple businesses, you may have to hire a valuation specialist to help you determine the worth of each. If both spouses were actively involved in a business together, the assumption would be that each one has a claim to its assets in a divorce. However, if one spouse was less involved or not involved at all, the business will still be considered an asset during divorce proceedings.
If you need assistance with a business valuation or advice regarding the division of your business, it would be advisable to speak with an experienced lawyer.
Real Estate Holdings
High net worth couples own property, real estate, and other assets, including commercial properties, investment properties, vacation homes, farmland, residential real estate and more. Florida will divide real estate between two spouses in a manner that is fair and equitable. However, deciding what is equitable may prove difficult due to the fluctuating nature of the real estate market as well as other economic factors. Another issue you may have to factor in is your spouse’s interests. Perhaps one property is your spouse’s favorite, and he/she is willing to let you have two other properties in exchange for that piece of real estate.
Another potential issue you might have to deal with is how the properties will be handled when distributed in a fair manner. Will the properties be sold, divided among the spouses, or given to one spouse in exchange for other assets? You will need to factor in if any debt is owed as well as any inheritances during this time.
Contact our office online or via (727) 312-1112 to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can help you with your high net worth divorce.