The more money that an individual brings to a marriage, the more financially -- and emotionally -- complex an eventual divorce can be. Our experienced attorneys can help you avoid the financial and legal pitfalls that often accompany high-net-worth divorce.
Here are six issues that you need to be aware of before beginning the high-net-worth divorce process.
What is a high-net-worth divorce? “High-net-worth” is a term used to describe individuals and couples whose investable assets exceed a certain amount. There is no legal definition of “high-net-worth,” but one common standard seems to be those whose investable assets exceed $1 million.
Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This is an important concept because it means that marital property is divided fairly, which does not always equate to a 50-50 split. Courts consider various factors in coming up with an equitable arrangement, including the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s role in the acquisition of marital property, child custody agreements, and the age, health and needs of each spouse.
There are more assets to divide. This might seem like a no-brainer, but high-net-worth couples do not always realize how complicated divorce will be. Who gets the valuable art collection, the vacation home, the brokerage account, the retirement savings, and the family business? There are a lot of factors to consider when there are multiple asset types at stake.
Some investments fluctuate in value. Because high-net-worth couples and individuals often invest their assets in the stock market and other accounts that fluctuate in value, it is important to ensure that both parties end up with an equitable share of both risky investments and more stable income. That is one of the challenges that courts contend with in dividing marital property.
Not all property is marital property. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, property acquired by gift or inheritance and most property acquired before the marriage is nonmarital property. This is significant for individuals whose high-net-worth is acquired by inheritance or who made their fortunes before getting married.
Be proactive. Consider entering into a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement, which are legal contracts determining how marital property should be split if the couple divorces. The only difference is that a prenuptial agreement is executed before marriage, and a postnuptial agreement is executed after the parties are already married. Also, consider meeting with a financial planner at any point before or during the marriage.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
If you need family law assistance, do not hesitate to contact a legal professional immediately. The skilled Naperville family law attorneys at the Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC, can guide you through the divorce process and help protect your financial assets. Contact us today for a free consultation.