A high net worth divorce brings its own set of problems and complexities in addition to those experienced in any divorce. Unfortunately, it can be easy to make costly mistakes during a high net worth divorce, including accepting a quick settlement, failing to investigate hidden assets, failing to properly value assets, and attempting to handle a high net worth divorce on your own. If you are facing a high net worth divorce (where one or both parties have significant assets, it is essential that you have an experienced lawyer by your side from start to finish.
Should You Accept a Quick Settlement to Speed up the Divorce?
Perhaps the number one mistake in a high net worth divorce is accepting a quick settlement simply to have the divorce over and done with. In particular, the spouse who may not have earned the assets, or who has not been involved in managing the money and assets, stands a good chance of not really understanding the level of assets involved. This means that when a quick settlement is offered, the spouse without the full picture could accept, cheating himself or herself out of significant assets. The future tax implications of such a decision could also have negative impacts that could follow the spouse for years.
What Should You Do if You Think Your Spouse is Hiding Assets?
Spouses are often tempted to protect assets from their spouse during a divorce—particularly during a high net worth divorce. This may be done by transferring ownership of assets to a family member or friend, or by opening separate accounts, diverting funds from a joint account. Hiding assets is never a good idea—if you are the spouse hiding assets, you could be found out, losing credibility and the chance for a reasonable divorce settlement. If you believe your spouse is hiding assets, you may need a forensic accountant and business valuator to ensure all marital assets are properly accounted for.
What About Assets That Are Not Properly Valuated?
Couples that own a business need to have their business interests valuated, and when non-family partnerships, shared retirement assets, trusts, and real estate holdings are thrown into the mix, the process is further complicated. All financial holdings must be properly valuated in a high net worth divorce. This virtually always requires the help of a highly experienced individual.
Should You Ever Attempt a High Net Worth Divorce on Your Own?
Perhaps one of the most damaging mistakes a spouse can make during a high net worth divorce is failing to hire a lawyer who is skilled in high net worth divorces. In fact, it can be extremely helpful to consult an experienced high net worth lawyer – you have filed for divorce, or as soon as you have been served with divorce papers. Having a highly skilled lawyer who can help you think clearly and strategically, guiding you through the legal minefields and helping you obtain a brighter, financially secure future.