When one or both parties in a divorce are high net worth individuals, the divorce qualifies as a "high-asset" divorce. High-asset divorces come with their own unique challenges, and taking proactive measures to prepare for a high-asset divorce might help you secure a more favorable judgment from the court.
3 Common Challenges Faced in a High-Asset Divorce
If you are currently embroiled in a high-asset divorce or will be in the future, here are three things you should keep in mind:
- Divorce cases are public record. If you choose to pursue your divorce in the courtroom, unless you successfully file a request to seal your case, the documents will be open to the public. For most couples, this doesn't matter, but it can impact high net worth individuals significantly—especially if they're a public figure. The last thing most high net worth individuals want is the media capitalizing on their divorce. Consult with your lawyer to understand how you can file to seal the divorce case. It may also be worth considering alternative resolution options that allow you to settle your divorce privately out of court, such as mediation.
- If there is a primary breadwinner in the marriage, the divorce may impact them financially. During a divorce, courts try to ensure all parties maintain the same standard of living post-divorce that they enjoyed during the marriage. If you were the primary breadwinner with a lower-income spouse, you might want to brace for a hefty alimony judgment from the court. Similarly, if children are involved, and they're used to receiving benefits such as expensive extracurriculars, it may be wise to prepare for a significant child support judgment in the lower-income party's favor.
- Property division may be a long process. When multiple high-value properties, assets, and debts (businesses, investment accounts, luxury cars, etc.) are part of the property division process, it can get complicated quickly. Consult with your lawyer about what property is considered marital and what you should expect from Florida's "equitable distribution" process. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it could significantly affect the property division process, so take some time to understand the ramifications of pre and postnups on the divorce. You should also include taxes and liabilities in your property division estimations. If one party is lower-income, and they get awarded a valuable asset, they should be aware they may have to pay taxes on that asset that they can't necessarily afford.
High-asset divorces can be incredibly complex, and an unfavorable outcome can be devastating. That's why you need an attorney you can trust by your side while you navigate your high-asset divorce.
At the Law Office of Russell S. Hershkowitz, LLC, we have over 25 years of experience in the high-asset divorce arena.
To receive a consultation with our firm, contact us online or via phone at (407) 753-4111.