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The Challenges of High Net Worth Divorce

 Posted on August 26, 2017 in Division of Property

Lombard divorce lawyersThe process of property division is often a challenging part of any divorce. However, when high net worth comes into the equation, things can get extremely complex and very contentious. It is a good idea to engage a qualified attorney to help guide you and your soon-to-be-former spouse through with a minimum of trouble.

“High Net Worth” Defined

The term “high net worth” divorce is actually somewhat of a misnomer, because a couple does not necessarily have to be particular wealthy to fit this category in divorce law. Rather, they must have assets that can be complex to divide; it just so  happens that in many instances, complex assets include many that are extremely valuable. Not everyone has assets such as specific types of retirement accounts, antiques, or complicated investments, and it can require more skill and time to handle them effectively.

  • Common types of assets seen in high net worth divorces include:
  • Pensions, retirement accounts and life insurance policies;
  • Real property such as vacation homes;
  • Luxury items like vintage automobiles, boats, or art collections;
  • Family businesses; and
  • Offshore and overseas assets.

Assets like this require careful attention from an attorney who understands how handle them, and it can be difficult to work out a solution that suits everyone.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Illinois is a state in which marital property is distributed equitably, rather than simply split down the middle. As such, it can be quite difficult to establish an appropriate distribution in a high net worth divorce, because neither party is usually so impoverished as to make distribution easy, as well as a high degree of commingling of assets that often happens in high net worth couples.

During a divorce, property and debts both must be separated into “marital” and “non-marital” categories. However, there are some occasions when even non-marital assets may be lost, depending how much has been integrated with your spouse’s assets. For example, if you receive a large inheritance and deposit the money in a marital checking account, it becomes marital property when previously it was not. An inheritance by one spouse considered to be non-marital property under Illinois law. In a divorce, that money could be counted as marital property, even though it was your inheritance paycheck because the way you handled it caused it to lose its identity as non-marital property. In a high net worth divorce, issues like these may involve thousands or millions of dollars, making the stakes that much higher.

An Experienced Attorney Can Help

If you and your spouse own complex assets and are thinking about divorce, contact an experienced Lombard divorce attorney before you make any decisions. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today. Let us help you build the best possible future for yourself and your family.



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