While divorce almost always invites a certain amount of emotional turmoil, high asset divorce cases often take this turmoil to another level. Although exact definitions of what it takes to be considered a High Net Worth Individual (HNWI), one common baseline is those with a liquid net worth of more than a million dollars. Whether a person has that much money or a little less of more, it’s likely that it has brought them a certain amount of comfort and convenience in their lives that they do not want to give up. In some cases each person involved in the high asset divorce only wants to make sure they get their fair share and minimize any change to their lifestyle. In other cases they want to hold on to as much money as they can, at the expense of the other person. And sometimes they are barely money motivated at all. They just want out of the marriage and to move on with their lives. All of these emotional reactions can lead to people making crucial mistakes in the course of the divorce process that are not in their best interests. Here are some considerations that a person going through a divorce needs to consider carefully as they plan their case with their attorney.
Hiding assets in a divorce is illegal. Whether you are in an equitable distribution state, such as Colorado, where the division of marital assets may or may not be divided 50/50, or a community property state, where division is mostly 50/50 it is not a good idea to try to get the lion’s share of the marital assets by attempting to hide them. You should also not assume that your spouse won’t attempt to hide money. Work with your lawyer to help identify places where money might be hidden, in the accounts of friends or family, delayed bonuses, and overpaid taxes, to name a few. If you’re the one trying to hide money, you risk losing credibility which can easily translate into less money in your pocket.
Wanting to Divorce Quickly
Often people who have a high net worth are used to making decisions and acting on those decisions quickly and efficiently. When it comes to a high asset divorce this isn’t necessarily the best strategy. Because there is more property, businesses, financial accounts, and cash at stake there are more things to consider when trying to divide everything fairly. Some decisions may look better on the surface, but once tax considerations are made, it may turn out that another choice would serve the person better. Even if you think you can’t stand your spouse, or you’re madly in love with someone else, it’s best to play out the consequences of several scenarios before deciding what will work best for you.
Letting Amateurs Into Your Divorce
While it is good to have friends and family on your side for emotional and moral support when you are going through a divorce, their advice should stop short of anything legal. Even if they have the experience of losing money, or managing not to, not two divorce cases are the same. Let them distract you by joining you at a ball game, or a show, or a camping trip, or doing something that will take away a bit of the stress temporarily. Leave the legal stuff to your attorney.