Many people are under the assumption that financial wealth will greatly reduce if not eliminate most problems in life. In reality, people with substantial income and assets often face a greater number of complex challenges – especially during divorce. If you are entering into a high-asset divorce, make sure you understand what to expect and how to prepare for these challenges. Because the stakes are so high in a case like this, working with a skilled high-asset divorce attorney is recommended.
Asset Valuation is the First Step
Before you and your spouse can begin to address property division, you must know the full financial picture. Accurate, professional asset valuation is crucial in a high-asset divorce case. Make sure you understand the current value of your stocks, stock options, retirement accounts, real estate, and investments. Do not forget to get appraisals for difficult-to-value assets such as fine art, jewelry, or collectibles.
Consider the Tax Implications of Your Options
Asset division, spousal maintenance, and other financial issues in divorce can have major tax consequences. Do your research and look for any possible deductions or credits that minimize your tax obligations. Ensure that asset transfers or sales during divorce do not incur capital gains taxes or other unexpected financial liabilities. Consider the tax consequences of your decisions both now and in the future.
Know the Signs of Financial Fraud
Spouses who want to reduce their financial obligations or gain a financial advantage during divorce may lie about assets and income, hide property, or undervalue assets. Make sure you know the signs of this type of financial deception. If your spouse refuses to share financial documents, changes passwords on bank accounts, or exhibits strange financial behavior, this may be a sign that they are trying to hide something.
Understand How Debts Will Be Addressed
You and your spouse may have a mortgage, personal loans, student loan debts, small business loans, credit card bills, and other debts. Make sure you understand your rights and obligations regarding these debts. Typically, debts acquired during the marriage are considered the responsibility of both parties. Debts acquired before the marriage are usually non-marital debts but there are many exceptions to this general rule. It may be best to pay off joint debt during the divorce by selling other assets. Work with a skilled attorney to understand all of your options and determine what is best for your particular situation.
Spousal Maintenance Obligation or Entitlement
When one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other, the lower-earning spouse may be entitled to spousal maintenance. In the absence of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, Illinois courts make spousal maintenance decisions on a case-by-case basis. You may also be able to negotiate an alimony arrangement with your spouse outside of court.
Contact our High-Asset Kane County Divorce Lawyer
High-asset divorce cases require careful attention to detail. Our St. Charles divorce lawyers are highly experienced in complex divorce cases involving significant assets. Call [[title]] for a free initial case assessment to learn more.