No two divorces are exactly the same, but couples who have a large number of assets often face similar issues as they go through the divorce process. Having a high net-worth can certainly have its advantages, but when it comes to divorce, your assets could make things much more difficult for you. With more properties and more valuable accounts and investments, it may be challenging for you to find a fair way to divide your assets with your spouse.
High net-worth divorces often take longer because they are more complex and have more assets to divide. On top of that, your spouse might try to hide certain assets or cheat you out of some funds or properties. Because you have more assets to watch over, there are certain things you should do to ready yourself for the divorce process. If you are about to go through a high net-worth divorce, make sure you know how to prepare and protect your assets.
Evaluate Your Finances
Immediately after you and your spouse decide to divorce, you should take stock of your financial situation. At the start of the divorce, you and your spouse will be responsible for presenting the court with a formal document citing all of your assets. The court will evaluate your accounts, investments, properties, and other assets, determine which assets are subject to division, and move forward from there.
You will also need to keep a file of all important documents, including tax documents, property deeds, account information, investment documents, business records, credit card statements, and anything else pertaining to your finances.
Some individuals choose to look over their accounts themselves, but if you have a large number of assets, it might be best to work with a professional accountant or financial advisor. With professional help, it would be easier for you to carry on with your daily life without having to worry about overlooking any assets when building your financial report.
Seek Financial Independence
Before you make any big moves, make sure you have your own accounts separate from those of your spouse. By creating your own accounts, you prevent your spouse from tampering with your accounts or clearing out your spending money as some form of revenge. To avoid this, it’s best to create your own private checking and savings accounts accessible only by you. By separating your accounts, you also protect your privacy. Dipping into shared accounts could alert your spouse to your spending habits, which they might try to use against you in court.
Is Your Spouse Hiding Assets?
Hiding assets from the court in your divorce is never a good idea. Even though you might be tempted to hold on to certain assets you believe are rightfully yours, attempting to hide those assets could have serious legal repercussion. The financial document you present before the court is binding, so lying in that document could find you in contempt of court.
If your spouse is hiding assets, on the other hand, their attempt to retain certain properties and funds could wind up robbing you of assets that might otherwise be yours. Sometimes spouses attempt to hide assets by withdrawing funds and hiding them where their spouse won’t find them, or by signing over certain assets to friends and relatives so that they can no longer be subject to division in a divorce. In any case, if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets from you, make sure you speak to your attorney about your concerns. An experienced high-asset divorce attorney can refer you to a forensic accountant or other financial expert who can help find any hidden assets for you.
Prepare for Property Division
Dividing the marital property is always a difficult aspect of divorce, but it can be particularly challenging and extensive for couples with a high net-worth. Couples with more assets have more to divide, which means this step can take much longer, be much more stressful, and may be more contentious. In order to make this part of your divorce easier, make sure you consider your priorities ahead of time. Think about which assets are essential to you and discuss those priorities with your attorney. The more your lawyer knows about your concerns, the easier it will be to represent your best interest during negotiations.
Dealing with a high-asset divorce can be extremely stressful, which is why it is so important to work with an experienced attorney who knows precisely how to support your case. Our Yonkers family lawyer is prepared to help with all aspects of your divorce, from spousal support to child custody.
Contact The King Law Firm to discuss your divorce with our Yonkers family lawyer.