Special Issues for High Net Worth Divorce

We all work diligently to ensure the financial security for our families.  Careful planning, scrupulous saving, and hard work can result in a comfortable lifestyle for you and your family.  This financial comfort and security, however, does not always promise a happy marriage, and even wealthy individuals may find their relationship failing and are now facing divorce.  There are some special issues to consider in a high net worth divorce.

One issue is privacy.  Divorce, like most court proceedings, is a public process.  This means that anyone can read the documents that are filed with the court or even sit in on the case and watch.  If you have a high net worth, it is likely that you do not welcome having your financial information open for public viewing.  It is possible to ask the court to seal the court record.  This means that only a select few people, such as you, your spouse and your respective attorneys, will be able to view the filings in the case.   You can also ask the court to close the court room and not allow casual spectators.

Another issue is property division.  In a high net worth divorce, there is likely to be a lot of property to be divided between the spouses.  Minnesota is an equitable distribution state.  This means that the property and debts of the marriage will be fairly divided between the parties.  This does not always lead to an exactly equal division.  Non-marital property, meaning property acquired before the marriage or during the marriage by gift, inheritance, or personal injury settlement, is not divisible in divorce.  Accordingly, if you inherited property before or during the marriage, this may not be part of what gets divided at all.  In a high net worth divorce, it is essential to properly identify each asset to ensure that only the marital property is divided.

Property valuation is also important.  In high net worth divorces, it is likely that the spouses have a diverse portfolio of assets.  These may be highly specialized personal property items, such as jewelry or art collections.  With these sorts of assets, having them professionally appraised will provide an accurate understanding of the value to be divided.  Some assets are more difficult to put an accurate worth on without highly expert assistance.  These types of assets may include family businesses or certain types of investment accounts.  Accurate valuations of these more complicated assets is especially important, and an expert is often required to make sure the value is correct and complete.

We have extensive experience in assisting with all types of divorces, regardless of whether it is a high asset divorce or a more simple case.  Contact us today at (651) 371-9117 to talk about what we can do to help you move forward.