The Unique Aspects of a High Asset Divorce
Most divorces come with at least some degree of complexity. Those who have decided to dissolve their marriages after building significant financial security together, however, tend to face unique difficulties. For instance, the sheer number and types of assets acquired during some marriages can make it difficult to identify, categorize, and then appraise marital property, which can also prolong the resolution of the divorce process. For these reasons, those who own unique or significant financial assets should consider working with an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer who can ensure that your divorce process is fair and that your rights are protected.
Compiling a List of Assets
One of the first steps in any high asset divorce is to compile an accurate list of each party’s assets, determine where they qualify as marital property, and decide on a value for each asset. These lists can include everything from vacation homes and other forms of real estate to retirement and bank accounts and personal possessions, like jewelry or antique collections. It is important to take note of all of a couple’s assets, including those that were obtained prior to the marriage. This may require the review of past tax returns or even the assistance of a forensic accountant.
Obtaining Proper Valuations
Once the parties to a high asset divorce have made a list of their property, they will need to place a proper value on those assets. While this can be a relatively simple task when it comes to putting a value on stock investments, retirement assets, pensions, and bank accounts, appraising rare, valuable, or unique assets can be more difficult. In these cases, particularly when they involve real estate, business interests, artwork, and jewelry, the parties will usually need the assistance of a valuation expert. It is only once these assets have been valued that the parties can begin negotiating how their marital property will be distributed upon divorce.
Uncovering Hidden Assets
Because identifying assets tends to be more difficult in high asset divorce cases, it is not uncommon for some individuals to attempt to take advantage of the confusion by hiding assets. This can take a number of forms, but the most common include:
- Giving property to friends and family with the intention of taking it back after the divorce;
- Selling assets without the other spouse’s knowledge;
- Creating false debt; or
- Denying the existence of particular assets.
This type of conduct is unlawful and when someone is found to be hiding assets, he or she will often receive a lower settlement award or have to give up the asset to the other spouse entirely. It’s also important to note, however, that failing to account for property during a divorce is not always purposeful and may happen due to overlooked paperwork or another error. Even accidental mistakes can delay a divorce, making it especially important for divorcing couples, to speak with an attorney who can help them avoid this type of oversight.
Reach Out to Our Legal Team Today
Speaking to experienced divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at our Fort Lauderdale office is free of charge. Contact us at 954-945-7591 or complete our online contact form to get in touch with a member of our legal team today.