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What to Know Before Filing a High Net Worth Divorce

Divorce cases can get significantly more complex when the couple has a high net worth. Not only are there simply more assets to be divided, or more complex ones, but “what is fair” and what is equitable must also be decided (rather than merely deciding what is as close to 50/50 as possible). At WARD FAMILY LAW, our Chicago divorce lawyers understand that when dealing with high asset divorces it is critical to be as thorough as possible.  This thoroughness can be in the review and exchange of financial documentation, formal discovery, subpoenas, business valuations, and valuation of assets or accounts. High net worth divorces are considered to be ones in which the couple has at least $1 million worth of assets to divide.

Is There a Premarital Agreement?

A small percentage of couples have premarital agreements, also known as prenuptial agreements, which are contracts signed before marriage outlining how assets and debts will be divided if they divorce. Individuals with a high net worth before marriage are more likely to create these contracts, also called prenups, but a lot of couples with substantial assets are still not protected by these agreements. Even if you have a valid premarital or postmarital agreement in place when you decide to end your marriage, you will want to consult with an experienced local attorney who can advise you on how your prenuptial agreement (or lack thereof) will impact your divorce.

Illinois Is an Equitable Distribution State

The majority of the 50 states are equitable distribution states, and that includes Illinois. This means marital assets in Illinois will be split based on what is considered fair or equitable.

Many factors are considered when determining which spouse gets what property. One spouse might retain the primary family home, while the other retains a business they started or a vacation home. Equitable division can be beneficial for spouses in high asset divorces, but a spouse needs the right attorney to help advocate for their fair share of the property.

Special Considerations for High Net Worth Divorces

Here are some ways in which a high net worth divorce tends to be different than one with fewer assets:

  • Often, multiple experts and professionals must be hired – in addition to a divorce lawyer, you may also need business and real estate appraisers, translators for overseas property documentation, multiple consultations with your tax professional to update your estate planning, etc.
  • High net worth divorces often take more time to finalize and, therefore, cost more.
  • The spending habits of each spouse will often be more complex. If you make large purchases during the divorce process, it might be viewed as concealing assets or wasting funds, and this can complicate matters. Your attorney should address any overspending by your spouse as well.

Need a Chicago Lawyer Experienced with High Net Worth Divorces?

WARD FAMILY LAW has handled many high net worth divorces in and around Chicago, Illinois. We are familiar with the nuances and intricacies that these divorces present.  Whether your objective is to settle out of court or not, we can help you navigate even the most complex divorce situations. Check over our client testimonials and then reach out via our contact form to set up a virtual or in-person consultation.

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