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High Net Value Divorce

High-Net Value Divorces Require an Experienced Divorce Lawyer

Any divorce is a thorny process that requires the couple to address numerous issues, such as dividing property and sharing parenting time. 

But when the divorcing couple has significant assets and high-net value, the situation can only become more complex. In many cases, high-net value divorces are substantially more contentious than most other divorces; it is critical for the parties involved to retain an experienced divorce lawyer to protect their legal rights.

The Minnesota divorce lawyers of Atticus Family Law are skilled advocates who know how to protect individuals who are going through high-net value divorce. Our 360-degree approach to serving your needs helps us ensure that issues such as estate planning and future tax considerations are not left to chance. To schedule a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today or complete the online contact form.

High-Net Value Couples Often Have Complex Assets

One factor that often makes high-net value divorces more complicated is that they tend to have complex assets that can be difficult to appraise and divide. For example, in a divorce involving an average middle-class couple, the assets that would need to be divided may include the cash in bank accounts, retirement accounts, personal property, and their home. While not simple, the division of assets like these is typically relatively straightforward, and it’s not difficult to determine how much the assets are worth.

In the case of a high-net value couple, however, their assets may be much more complex. They could include:

  • Business ownership
  • Collector’s items
  • Assets in trust
  • Intellectual property
  • Unvested interests
  • Investment real estate holdings

In many cases, the value of these kinds of assets needs to be determined by experts, and the opinions of these experts can differ significantly. Pensions, stock options, and family-owned businesses, for example, can all present unique challenges when dividing marital property during a divorce.

Is Separate Property Still Separate?

In many high-net value cases, one spouse comes into the marriage with significant assets that were acquired before the marriage or through inheritance during the marriage. Typically, these assets are considered separate property and are not subject to division like the rest of the marital estate. That said, when separate assets are commingled with marital assets, it can transform the separate assets into marital assets subject to division by the court. Working with a knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you determine what should and should not be considered separate property. 

If a Prenuptial Agreement Exists, is it Valid?

When one or both spouses come into a marriage with significant assets or the prospect of a large inheritance, they often sign a prenuptial agreement in an effort to protect their interests should the marriage end in divorce. If a prenuptial agreement exists, it’s essential to determine whether it is enforceable, as failing to do so could result in walking away from substantial assets to which a party could have a legitimate interest. There are various reasons that a prenuptial agreement could fail, so it’s always a good idea to have an attorney review yours before assuming that it is valid.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Consultation with a Divorce Attorney in Minnesota

Since 2012, Atticus Family Law has been helping individuals throughout the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin navigate issues related to family law, including divorce, child custody, parenting time, child support, and spousal maintenance. Our attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that each case we take is resolved as favorably as possible and providing individualized representation and counsel to each and every client. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today or contact us online.

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Personal Perspective From An Atticus Family Law Attorney

Divorce on the Verge of Retirement – “He was devastated.”

A few years ago, I had a heartbreaking divorce case. My client, Everett*, was a 65-year-old executive who had done well. He and his wife Agnes had two residences, developed a sizable retirement, and had numerous pension interests. On the verge of retirement, Agnes served Everett with divorce papers. He was devastated as Everett was psychologically, emotionally, and physically ready for retirement and yet divorce jeopardized that. 

In this sort of high net worth divorce, there is a lot on the line. They may own/control businesses that have a great deal of equity; these businesses also have a stream of future income that needs to be reconciled in the divorce. Other times there may be complicated non-marital claims, stock options, and trust holdings. There’s also in these cases significant tax considerations for residential and investment real estate holdings, the small businesses, and how these assets are converted and transferred amongst the divorcing parties.

There are also heightened emotions given the ages and the large sums of money. Rarely are there high net worth divorcing parties in their early 30s where they have lifetimes ahead to rebuild their financial estates; often our high net worth divorce clients have to get as much as possible out of their divorce as time is against them.

For this 65-year-old client from Woodbury, we met frequently to tweak and execute our strategy. We made sure that we had the best information regarding each asset. And we made sure to systematically communicate with Agnes’ attorney and her. There was a lot of work dealing with her stubborn attorney and demonstrating to her that she’d be financially secure in retirement with neither of them working. 

In the months that followed we’d secured a global agreement that divided their property and addressed the debt – most importantly the agreement did not require Everett to have to keep working until 67 or 70 just to pay spousal maintenance!

Each party was able to take their share of the financial estate and retire. After the divorce went through we continued to work with Everett to make sure that the complexities of the divorce agreement were properly implemented. While our client’s pre-divorce goal to retire by age 65 was delayed, we were able to pivot this life transition into successful goal achievement for Everett’s retirement.

– Matt Ludt
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