The longer your marriage lasts and the higher your standard of living, the more complications may arise during a divorce. High-asset divorces often become high-conflict divorces, with spouses fighting over property or even breaking the law to try to gain the upper hand.
Misconduct can occur in any divorce, but there is little question that the incentive for bad behavior grows stronger when there are more assets in play. Identifying some of the most concerning issues that crop up during high-asset divorces can help you protect yourself during every stage of the dissolution of your marriage.
More assets mean more incentive to hide money or property
Trying to secure a fair divorce outcome requires a careful review of an inventory of your household assets and debts. You can’t establish reasonable expectations if your spouse intentionally withholds information about assets or income from during your marriage.
Not only do you need to be very careful in the review of your household asset inventory to make sure that your spouse included everything, but you may also need to partner with a specialist like a forensic accountant to track down property or income seemingly unaccounted for in your divorce paperwork.
Spouses may misuse or waste marital assets punish each other
Other than hidden assets, the intentional dissipation of marital assets may be the biggest financial risk in a high-asset divorce.
Your ex could try to give away property or sell it for far less than what it is actually worth. They could empty your savings account or rack up major debt while buying a new wardrobe or other wasteful items. Some spouses will even spend thousands on an extramarital affair immediately before or even during divorce proceedings.
Such behavior will diminish the marital estate and what assets each spouse can claim in the divorce. If you can prove dissipation, that can influence how the courts rule on the division of your property.
It can cost money to establish the value on some of your assets
High-asset divorces often include complex property. Your investment accounts, small business or real estate holdings all have fluctuating values. It can be difficult to place an accurate price on some of your assets. You may even need to bring in appraisers and professionals to establish an accurate value for some of the biggest assets in your divorce.
Recognizing the unique risks of a high-asset divorce can help you plan I had to protect yourself during one.