Divorce is typically an emotional and stressful experience. During divorce, it is not unusual for both spouses to take irrational actions that may not be in their best interests or make mistakes that cost them significantly in settlement calculation. There are many special issues that can arise as a part of a divorce involving a lot of property and assets, so having an attorney who is experienced in high-asset divorces can make a big difference when it comes to the outcome.
The Trouble With Valuations
One particular challenge in a high-asset divorce is how everything is valued. This is where it is beneficial to bring in valuation experts, objective professionals who can make accurate assessments of the couple’s property and assets based on traditional and accepted methodologies and metrics. These types of experts are often associated with an accounting firm and may even carry a special designation. While these experts are usually a solid choice for valuing assets like a privately held company or a party’s stake in a family business, even more specialized knowledge may be necessary for the proper handling of interests related to investments. If, for example, an asset like pre-IPO stock is split between a CEO and his soon-to-be former spouse, the transfers of ownership and sales and any contingencies related to distribution need to be carefully evaluated in the assessment process.
Life Insurance Considerations
Life insurance is another commonly misjudged area during divorce proceedings. Life insurance is often thought of as another insurance form, like auto and homeowner’s policies, instead of an asset. However, affluent individuals may accumulate significant value in life insurance without their spouse being completely aware of it. This can happen without one spouse intentionally misleading the other spouse; it’s an issue that simply isn’t on the radar.
Even when a comprehensive review of insurance is made as part of a financial analysis in divorce, life insurance policies can be tough assets. This is because insurance may be structured in various ways depending on the goals and needs of the client, and it is often held in a trust as part of an estate plan. A person with extensive insurance and trust knowledge may be brought into a high-asset divorce to help determine the true current values of any policies and for the crafting of a recommendation on how those policies can be divided in an equitable manner.
Lifestyle During The Marriage
While the cost of lifestyle maintenance is often talked about, it is not always treated with all of the financial acumen and weight that it should be. A lifestyle analysis is a crucial part of any high-asset divorce, particularly when one spouse is a high earner and the other one is not. A complete and detailed forensic account of how the money was spent over the course of the marriage can go a long way toward helping both spouses reach a fair conclusion.
The consideration of your lifestyle will play a part in your financial future as it will affect what property and support, if any, you receive, as well as the distribution of debts and other liabilities from the marriage. Naturally, this is an area that you need to make sure receives its proper focus during the proceedings. Your attorney will work to ensure that you are able to maintain your lifestyle after your divorce without immediately facing a financial struggle.
Your Attorney Matters
When you have a lot of properties and assets, substantial retirement accounts, stock or business holdings or other benefits, they will be addressed during your divorce. With an experienced and aggressive attorney, you will have a better chance of being aware of all the assets involved and what you are entitled to. Since divorce laws vary by state, having an attorney who is familiar with Colorado laws also means you will be able to receive specific guidance as to how the divorce will move in this state. Even if your spouse has full control over the finances when you are divorcing, you may still have the right to have your attorney fees paid from marital property or by the community assets.
With a large amount of assets and property on the line and the very nature of your lifestyle being impacted by the settlement, a high-asset divorce can become complicated quickly. For this reason, having an experienced legal team on your side is important. Speak to Burnham Law about your high-asset divorce today. We have the experience and knowledge necessary to fully represent and protect the rights of clients involved in high-asset divorces.