Sorting out the asset division issues in a high net worth divorce

On behalf of Lake Toback Attorneys

Wealthy Illinois couples that are going through a divorce may be interested in an article detailing some of the complicated issues that owning substantial assets can raise during the process. Understanding these issues can help to ensure a fair property division.

Divorce advisers note that couples going through a high asset divorce may need to dig a little deeper to deal with the often complicated particulars of their financial situation. Some of these stem from the nature of the assets themselves, while others come from the actions of the spouses. There may be a temptation for one spouse or the other to hide assets from their partner. This can be done by withholding documentation, giving interest-free loans to family members and making large purchases for others prior to the division of property. The intent would be to take the assets out of the marital property pool and retain them after the marriage.

Even when fully disclosed, the types of certain assets can be an issue as well. Hedge funds and venture capital investments can be difficult to divide, as they are often not liquid. Also, they usually have fluctuating value that makes it difficult to fairly compensate the other spouse. The value of these assets could either increase or decrease greatly depending on the health of the investment. Since one spouse generally will retain the illiquid asset and pay the other an equal amount, this difficulty in valuation can make reaching a settlement agreement difficult.

Property division is often one of the most challenging and contentious aspects of the divorce process, and it can be even more difficult with high net worth individuals. An attorney with experience in divorce matters can often recommend other professionals to assist in the valuation of assets as a prelude to a comprehensive settlement agreement.

Source: Financial Planning , “Finding Hidden Assets: Digging Deep in HNW Divorce“, Andrew Pavia, March 24, 2014

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Sorting out the asset division issues in a high net worth divorce