To outsiders, it may seem that you have “the life.” After all, you own a big house and drive a fancy car. However, as trite as it sounds, money doesn’t buy happiness. If you’re about to become a party to a high-net-worth divorce, you most likely know it firsthand. In fact, you might consider the abundance of assets as part of your problem.
For certain, wealth is a relative term. It could be that you or your spouse hit the lottery. Perhaps you are a professional of some sort – or a business owner. There’s even the chance that you inherited money from a relative or have celebrity status. Of course, great investments also make for high-net-worth marriages.
Like any other married couple, your divorce may be premised on a number of factors. Although financial instability may cause others to break up, that’s not your issue. Instead, it could be that you just don’t get along with your husband or wife. Maybe you’ve grown apart. Infidelity could destroy your marriage, as well as concerns about addiction. Meanwhile, wealthy people are also not exempt from domestic violence issues.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t necessarily matter why your marriage is ending. However, the more you own or earn – the more you need to know what to avoid.
Why are High-Net-Worth Divorces Different?
It’s somewhat a rhetorical question. Quite simply, because there is more at stake. And, that’s not to say that some of this advice doesn’t apply to middle-class wage earners as well. Here’s the short list of suggestions:
- Don’t sign anything until an experienced family law attorney has reviewed it. It could be that you didn’t execute a premarital agreement. If your spouse requests that you sign a post-nuptial agreement – don’t sign it. And yes, that includes if you feel threatened or find nothing wrong with the language of the agreement.
- Don’t allow your feelings to rule you. There’s a real inclination to take a divorce personally (as it should be) and sit back and let things happen to you. In some cases, you could become reactionary. Consider your marriage as a business partnership. You will need an experienced divorce lawyer to guide you through the process.
- Don’t try to hide assets. Attempts at hiding assets or lowering their value is unethical and can come back to bite you. Don’t put property in someone else’s name or open up secret bank accounts. All things considered, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney before making any major financial moves.
- Don’t forget about tax consequences. There are tax implications for a variety of transfers when it comes to determining a division of assets. Recent tax laws even changed deductions for alimony. Make sure you understand how you equitable distribution may impact you.
- Don’t rush your decisions. In some cases, it’s a matter of guilt. It could be that you have moved on and plan to marry someone else. Nevertheless, you may later regret making hasty decisions that impact your financial future.