In spite of the emotional aspects of divorce, the law deals with divorce with a mixture of legal and financial rules. Almost all divorces involve financial
Seek Legal Help Earlier – The greater your wealth, the sooner you should speak to an attorney. Many spouses married to high net-worth people are intimidated by the situation and fear losing the lifestyle they've become accustomed to. Find the best attorney that you can and make sure they understand the scope of the financial situation that could make a divorce more complicated and contentious. Needless to say, snagging the best lawyer around before your spouse does is a coup. Speaking with your lawyer can lead to a better understanding of your rights to property and debt divisions based on the state where you live. Finally, your new legal advocate can take steps to force your wealthy spouse to pay the divorce legal fees.
Know How Your State Handles Divorce – States use either the community property or the equitable distribution model to decide on property and debt matters. This issue can have a great deal of influence on how disputed issues are decided upon by the judge. For starters, those in community property states can expect to receive one-half of all marital property. Unfortunately, that also means you could be 50% responsible for your spouse's debts.
Gather Financial Information on the Down Low – Once the divorce papers are served, you may find your access to financial information to be limited. Now is the time to access banking, investment, and retirement accounts and print out the most recent statements. Gather insurance policies, deeds, vehicle titles, and anything else that will matter to your financial picture going forward. Consult your divorce attorney for a complete list of needed paperwork so that a picture of you and your spouse's net worth can be estimated.
Consider Using a Forensic Accountant – Your divorce attorney may recommend that you hire a special type of accountant that is skilled in identifying financial information. Some spouses will attempt to hide assets from a divorcing spouse. The value of your marital estate will come into question when dealing with matters like:
- Child support
- Spousal support
- The division of marital assets
- The division of marital debts
Speak to local divorce lawyers to learn more about dealing with a high net-worth divorce.