What are the 5 Major Divorce Concerns for Couples who are High Net Worth?

What are the 5 Major Divorce Concerns for Couples who are High Net Worth?


High net-worth couples are those who have sizable assets of significant value. While they may have some of the same concerns as couples with fewer assets like deciding how to divide property or decide on child custody, they also confront challenges that are unique to their situation. The five major divorce concerns for high net-worth couples include:

Whether there is a Valid Prenup
Many wealthy Florida couples enter into prenuptial agreements before getting married. If this agreement is determine valid, it may dictate how property is divided and whether or not spousal support is awarded. Therefore, if there is a prenuptial agreement, the parties may first consider whether their agreement is valid. Even if they both seemingly voluntarily entered into the agreement before their marriage, if the terms are unfavorable to one of the spouses, he or she may try to invalidate the prenuptial agreement. A party may argue that they were under duress to sign the prenuptial agreement because there was very little time between the presentation of the prenup and the marriage, they did not have a lawyer or there was an imbalance of sophistication between the parties. 

How to Accurately Value Assets
Ultimately, the assets will need to be divided between the parties. There may be significant assets to account for such as:

  • Real property

  • Real estate investments

  • Cars

  • Boats

  • Retirement accounts

  • Artwork, jewelry, coin collections and other expensive collections

  • Stocks, bonds and investments

These assets may need to be evaluated to determine any possible distribution. Some of the assets may be sold and the sales proceeds distributed to the spouses. However, the spouses may not agree on the stated value of the property. Professional appraisers may need to be hired. Additionally, tax treatment of certain assets may be an important factor to consider when dividing the property.

How a Business Will Be Affected
A business interest may be considered marital property. Many high net worth individuals have a business that they use as a primary or contributing source of income. It may be necessary to hire a business valuation expert to determine the value of the business. Additionally, a forensic accountant may need to be hired to review tax returns, annual statements, accounts receivable, company debt, and other evidence. 

Dealing with Spousal Support Demands
If there is a disparity in the value of the assets and income of the parties, spousal support may be more likely to be ordered in high net worth divorce cases. In these situations, spousal support may be paid through ongoing spousal support payments or a large one-time lump-sum payment. There will likely be significant tax consequences to consider.

Hidden Assets
Unfortunately, hiding assets in a high net worth case is not uncommon. Spouses may hand off assets to third parties, make imaginary loans, purposefully delay bonuses or hold assets in the name of businesses in an attempt to keep these assets from the divorce proceeding. However, there can be serious repercussions for these tactics.

An Indian River County FL divorce attorney can anticipate these issues and he provided targeted legal advice and representation.

George L. Metcalfe
Indian River County FL Divorce Attorney

What are the 5 Major Divorce Concerns for Couples who are High Net Worth?