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New York high-asset divorce ends in wife's share being reduced

Formally severing any marital relationship through divorce may involve certain complexities and legal requirements. However, the divorce of a couple who shares a huge amount of marital assets that must be identified, categorized and divided fairly between the two defines the very nature of a high-asset divorce.

While both parties will try to safeguard their own interests in this type of divorce, the primary concern of the court is to ensure an equitable division of assets. The first step toward equitable distribution is full disclosure, with transparency by both parties of all assets, business holdings and property interests and then classification of each asset as either marital property or premarital property. Complex asset division often plays an intricate, but integral, part of the divorce of a high-profile couple.

Other concerns apart from financial issues also can be at the forefront of a high-asset divorce. In a recent court case, a New York wife discovered that bad behavior may actually alter the course of a divorce. While the two had been engaged in a bitter divorce battle for quite some time, the wife recently made objectionable online posts about her husband and his behavior. According to the judge, these posts damaged the husband's reputation and led to a decline in the husband's considerable fortune and employment prospects, while also resulted in a decrease in value of the wife's share of divorce marital assets.

While this New York wife will still receive alimony and child support, among other things, this loss of marital assets due to her own belligerent behavior might have been prevented if she had realized how her hurtful public statements would adversely affect her assets. Parties to a divorce with high emotional overtones may perhaps be better off letting a lawyer experienced in such areas do the talking.

Source: ABA Journal, "Ex-wife gets less in divorce of BigLaw partner because her badmouthing hurt rainmaking, judge says," Debra Cassens Weiss, April 9, 2014

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