A high-asset or “high net worth” divorce basically means that the parties separating have complex assets to divide. One or both parties may have large incomes, have local and international investments, real estate holdings and more. These factors can make a divorce complex and/or contentious.
Under Illinois law, marital assets have to be divided equitably. Therefore, the courts take into account factors such as individual incomes, age, health, employability, among other things, to make sure assets are divided fairly.
Below are some challenges that are unique to high net worth divorces:
Forensic accounting may be necessary
In the event that one or both parties are hiding assets, a forensic accountant can help locate them and also help ascertain the actual total value of all the assets. Additionally, they can help determine which assets are part of the marital estate and which are separate.
Assessing the nature of some assets can be harder
In Illinois, only marital assets are divisible. However, if separate assets appreciate during the course of the marriage, they may be considered divisible. With respect to this, having a prenuptial agreement in place makes the process much smoother.
There may be assets involved that fluctuate in value
Dividing international assets is complex because it may be difficult to determine their accurate market value. There are also issues with taxation that may require the assistance of a professional. Other high-value assets such as art may require valuations and appraisals.
High net worth divorces require a delicate touch to ensure every asset is accounted for and all your interests are protected.