3 Key Considerations for High Net Worth Couples During Divorce


February 22, 2018

high net worth divorce

Regardless of individual circumstances, divorce can be a stressful, painful process. Because of the large amount of property and assets involved, couples with a high net worth can easily become embroiled in complicated, prolonged divorces.

Here are three key things high net worth couples need to remember when getting divorced:

Find All the Assets

When a large number of assets and property is involved, it is important to get a full handle on everything owned by each spouse and jointly as a couple. This includes all real estate, vehicles, business interest, stocks, bank accounts, and retirement plans.

Begin by sitting down and listing out all the assets you know of, along with an estimation of their approximate value and whether they are marital or separate assets. This helps you get a handle on where things stand from the outset. Once you’ve done this, consider hiring someone to perform a full asset search on both you and your spouse. There could be assets that have been hidden, that you never knew about, or that you both have forgotten about that could be pivotal in a final settlement. [1]

Ask for Help

It is common for couples to have difficulty estimating the value of even common assets, such as real estate. Asset valuation becomes even more complicated when things such as business interests or rare antiques are involved. When you have a lot of assets involved in a divorce, it’s best to bring in a financial adviser, accountant, or appraiser to help determine the true fair market valuation of property.

Oftentimes, qualified professionals will be brought in during the discovery or later stages of a divorce to value assets and make recommendations regarding their division. These third parties can provide neutral opinions on assets’ value, which can help reduce bickering between the parties. Getting a financial adviser, especially one experienced in family law cases, involved early in the divorce process can help you get a handle on the steps you need to take to protect yourself. [2]

Consider the Tax Implications

With so many varied factors to consider in a divorce, it can be easy to lose sight of the potential consequences you may face once all the papers are signed. This includes any potential income tax ramifications you may experience resulting from being awarded – or having to transfer – an asset.

Once you have an idea of what assets are marital and a rough idea of how they will be divided, consult with an accountant. Discuss with your accountant the potential that any appreciated property received can be taxed as capital gains, if any benefits that are divided will trigger consideration as ordinary income when paid, and how the divorce may impact your dependent exemptions on your taxes. Getting input on these matters early in the process can help you avoid nasty surprises down the road. [3]

Experienced Representation in High Net Worth Divorces in Maryland

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado have experience helping couples with high net worth get divorced with as little disruption as possible. Contact our office today to find out how our team of legal professionals can help you at this trying time.

[1] Khoury, George, “3 Practical Legal Tips for High Asset Divorce,” FindLaw.
[2] Fiorentino, Vincent J. and Alexandra I. Mililli, “5 Ways Financial Advisors Can Assist Family Lawyers with High-Net-Worth Divorce Cases,” FamilyLawyerMagazine.com.
[3] Battah, Joey, “Top 10 Mistakes in High Net Worth Divorces,” CNN iReport.