Typically, a divorce is considered high-asset if the combined assets of both spouses exceed $2 million. However, some experts use lower thresholds, such as combined assets of over $500,000. High-asset divorces tend to be more complex legally and emotionally compared to lower-asset divorces, as there are substantial stakes that must be carefully navigated.

Dividing multimillion portfolios, business and real estate holdings, inheritances, and other assets requires a sophisticated understanding of tax law, business value, estate planning, and more. This is why it is crucial to seek the counsel of a high-asset divorce attorney.

Catalog and Value All Marital Assets

The first critical step in any high-asset divorce is creating a comprehensive catalog of all marital assets. This involves creating a full inventory that accounts for all property, investments, businesses, and other assets acquired during the marriage.

Spouses must disclose all material assets and account for any transferred or sold during separation. This includes real estate holdings like the marital home, vacation properties, or investment lands. It also encompasses retirement accounts, stock and bond portfolios, artwork, collectibles, and other personal property.

For businesses owned by either spouse, the inventory must attach estimated valuations. This is particularly important since companies are often among the most valuable yet difficult-to-value marital assets. Proper business appraisals conducted by certified valuation are typically needed.

Other professional valuations may also be required for assets like professional practices, commercial real estate, intangible intellectual property rights, or unique collection assets. Gathering reliable estimated values from qualified third-party experts helps prevent valuation disputes down the road.

Overall, a complete and accurate inventory serves as the foundation for fairly dividing marital assets. By meticulously cataloging and valuing all marital assets, parties in a high-asset divorce can work toward a settlement that reflects the true worth of their shared property and investments. This process, while potentially time-consuming and complex, is critical for ensuring that each party receives a fair portion of the marital estate.

Pre-Divorce Planning

Pre-divorce planning is a strategic step that high-networth couples can take to protect their assets and interests before the initiation of divorce proceedings. This planning often involves the creation of prenuptial (prenup) or postnuptial (postnup) agreements.

High-net-worth divorces also warrant revisiting estate plans to ensure the wishes of each party will be carried out post-divorce. Wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations will need updates to reflect the new marital status.

Given the complex financial and legal issues, it is imperative to hire experienced attorneys well-versed in high-asset divorce cases. With divorce planning and guidance from an experienced attorney, high-net-worth individuals can streamline property division and achieve an outcome agreeable to both spouses post-marriage.

Protecting Financial and Business Interests

Protecting business interests is a critical part of divorce planning, especially for those whose businesses may represent the most significant marital asset. There are several strategies that business owners can adopt for their companies during a divorce proceeding:

Asset Protection Trusts – Placing the business in an asset protection trust can help shield it from being considered a marital asset, as the owner no longer personally owns the company.

Buy-Sell Agreements – These agreements among business partners can include provisions that dictate what happens to a business interest in the event of a divorce, such as giving other partners the right of first refusal to purchase the interest.

Maintaining Separate Finances – Keeping business finances separate from personal finances can help establish the business as separate property, making it less likely to be divided during a divorce.

Transferring Ownership – Transferring partial ownership of the business to a trust or to adult children, if part of a legitimate estate plan, may reduce the owner’s interest in the business subject to division.

These strategies can be complex and may have tax implications or other legal consequences. It is essential for business owners to seek the advice of experienced legal and financial professionals when considering how to protect their business assets in the context of a divorce.

Protect Your Interests Through a High-Asset Divorce

When it comes to high-asset divorces, the stakes are higher and inevitably more complex. This is why it is critical to seek specialized legal counsel experienced in complex divorce cases involving substantial assets. With the assistance of our experienced attorneys, who are well-versed in Florida family law and high net-worth divorce cases, you can achieve a fair settlement agreement, so call us today to schedule a consultation.

Emily A. Konicek

Emily A. Konicek

Emily A. Konicek brings 14 years of experience to your family law concerns. Emily excels at mediation, negotiation and litigation, and can help you pursue a course of action that helps you meet your goals for the future and for your family.