The saying “choose your battles” might apply to any divorce proceeding, but it’s especially pertinent to those involving high net worth. Wealthy couples may need to manage more material assets and property, and divorce often becomes a matter of preserving reputation. Whether you own a profitable business that must be split or oversee sprawling real estate holdings, here are four potential obstacles in your way—and what to do about them:
- Costs Can Spiral Out of Control
Just because you have the funds to do so, doesn’t mean you should squander them on countless appraisals or court appearances. Save your money for retirement, your child’s wedding, or their college fund. Attempt to complete the divorce proceeding through amicable means or mediation.
- Valuation of Professional Degrees or Licensing
It’s not uncommon for one spouse to support another financially and emotionally during the course of professional schooling or licensing. Once that spouse earns the degree, he or she may achieve “enhanced earning potential.” Valuating this enhanced earning potential for spousal support or alimony is often a challenge unique to high net worth couples, and it makes retaining a qualified high net worth divorce attorney necessary.
- Valuation of a Spouse’s Stake in a Business
In a high net worth divorce, one spouse may own a professional practice or business. In many cases, this practice will be marital property. Valuating a business or professional practice can take time and a lot of debate. Typically, outside experts like forensic accountants will help evaluate each spouse’s stake in a business.
- Hidden Resources
Sometimes, one spouse will try to “shore up” their resources in anticipation of a divorce. They may put money in separate streams, including offshore accounts or secret pensions. It requires the help of a forensic accountant and high net-worth divorce attorney to ensure all income is accounted for and subject to fair and equitable division.
If you’re contemplating a high net worth divorce, one of the most important things you can do is hire a qualified attorney. Please contact the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. for a confidential review of your legal options.