It goes without saying: divorce is difficult. But if you have high net worth, then it can complicate matters. Divorces with greater assets are burdened with greater legal issues. Every divorce -- even high asset divorces -- is different, so not all issues will apply in your unique circumstances. But knowing what to expect if you will have a high asset divorce will at least keep you from getting caught off guard during the divorce process. Here are some of the most common legal issues that could arise in your high asset divorce.
High Asset Divorce Legal Issues in MO
Money may make the world go round, but it also complicates a divorce. There are a number of matters unique to high asset divorces that may arise in your case. The most common legal issues in high asset divorces include:
- Taxes. When couples divorce, the division of property can alter each party's tax obligations. Tax considerations must be made when transferring ownership of real or personal property, including a marital home, other residential properties, vehicles, bank accounts, rental property, stocks, a family business, pension funds, 401K, IRA, and life insurance.
- Alimony Negotiations. In these kinds of divorces, spouses often want to maintain the same standard of living, specifically the dependent spouse. Negotiations can be drawn-out. What's more: after December 31, 2018, alimony payers will lose their tax deduction in accordance with the tax reform law passed in December 2017. So, that will be yet another tax consideration that could make divorces with high assets all the more problematic, and may be the reason why -- if you are thinking about a divorce -- you should commit to it before the year 2018 ends.
- Hidden Assets. If you have or if you suspect your spouse has hidden assets, then you can anticipate an investigation into it. A forensic accountant or other professional may be hired to evaluate income tax returns, closely analyzing them to uncover the hidden assets -- if any. To note, if it is discovered you or your spouse hid assets, the court may issue consequences for it.
- Valuing Assets. Most of the time, assets are already known. The issue is more about valuing the property or assets. There may be a business with limited liquid assets -- how is that valued properly? There may be unique works of art -- how is that valued properly? There may be profit sharing benefits, stock, bonds, or the like that need to be valued -- how do you properly consider these assets? Proper valuation allows the parties to know exactly what is at stake, but the process is a complex one.
Is there a Way to Avoid These Legal Issues in High Asset Divorces?
Preventing extensive legal issues in high assets divorces is difficult unless you already have a pre-marital or post-marital agreement in place. When drafted properly, these contracts can make this process smoother because property and assets are already divided. But even then, these agreements can be a source of great contention in a high asset divorce. A spouse may contest it, and there are valid reasons a spouse can do so. Examples of valid reasons include:
- Improper execution. For example, the contract was not signed.
- Pressure to sign. Pressure to sign can invalidate a contract.
- Invalid provisions. Some provisions like modifying child support are not allowed.
- False or incomplete information. Full disclosure of all income, assets, and liabilities is required, anything less provides space for argument.
- Unconscionable. If one party faces serious financial hardship while the other one prospers, then it could be deemed unconscionable.
Making the Decision to File Your High Asset Divorce in Raymore, Belton, or Harrisonville, MO
If you are considering a divorce and have a high net worth, make sure you are aware of the legal issues that could complicate the divorce and be prepared accordingly. It is always in your best interests to contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss the unique circumstances of your divorce. So, before a high asset legal issue frustrates you divorce, call a divorce attorney representing people in Cass County, including Raymore, Pleasant Hill, Belton, and Harrisonville today.