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Points to remember in a high asset divorce

Divorce in New York and across the country is usually an emotional and complex legal matter. New York couples with high net worth often find that their wealth and assets compound the complexity and intensity of divorce issues. With so much at stake, spouses may act irrationally, and sometimes against their own interests. A financial error, no matter how simple, can cost a spouse dearly in a high asset divorce.

Certain complex issues need to be remembered when it comes to high asset divorces. To decrease the frequency of errors, spouses may need to consult with a marital property valuation expert who will act in an objective manner and arrive at a solution regarding a couple's assets and holdings. Valuation experts are often affiliated with accounting firms. In order to gather complete information regarding a divorcing spouse's stake in a family business, a couple may need to hire experts with more specialized business knowledge.

One financial expert says that if a former CEO and an ex-spouse split, all financial matters, including equity position, IPO stocks and transfer of ownership, need to be handled very carefully. Another point of concern during divorce proceedings is life insurance. Many divorcing couples do not consider life insurance an asset, but just another form of insurance, according to experts. Many high net worth individuals normally retain high-value life insurance policies that may be unknown to a spouse. This unknown marital asset may not have deliberately been kept secret, but may go unnoticed because it was not on the couple's marital financial radar.

Another area that needs to be discussed during a high asset divorce is lifestyle of the spouses before and after divorce. Lifestyle maintenance is often discussed but not treated seriously. This analysis can be crucial and very important, particularly if one spouse is earning significantly more than the other.

Source: Forbes, "Getting The Most From A High-Dollar Divorce," Jeff Landers, Dec. 1, 2014

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