Many divorcing couples can agree on nearly all issues and get a simplified divorce. Some, however, should recognize the signs of a high-asset divorce and take steps proactively to protect their concerns. Read on to find out why it pays to be careful when you and your spouse have more than the usual financial issues.
What Is a High-Asset Divorce?
There's no single dollar amount of assets that put divorce in this category, but you might recognize it, and your lawyer is sure to do so. Often, couples who own a great deal of real estate, run their own businesses, have a lot of investments, and have incomes several times above the national median can place themselves in this category.
What to Know About Hidden Assets
When a couple's financial details are complicated, it can increase the chances of hidden assets. The disclosure of assets is an important component of a fair and equitable divorce agreement. Couples who earn high incomes or where there is a great disparity in the incomes of the parties may end up hiding assets, either unintentionally or purposefully. For example, some couples may be confused about what marital assets are and what should be disclosed during divorce proceedings. Your lawyer only knows what you tell them, so it's in your own best interest to ensure that you and your spouse lay all your financial cards on the table and allow the law to determine marital assets.
What Are Marital Assets?
While states can differ somewhat in the determination of marital assets, in most cases, the following fall into that category:
- Everything procured after the date of the marriage and before the date of separation.
- Not included are inheritances, gifts to one party only, and property procured before the marriage.
Take Action to Protect Your Fair Share
You are entitled to certain assets as determined by your state of residence. You might live in one of the few remaining community property states, or you might live in an equitable distribution state. In some cases, you might be entitled to property that was purchased by your spouse and in some cases, you must let your spouse keep certain items of property. The only way to know for sure is to speak with your attorney. To make sure you get a fair shake, take these actions:
- Gather information right away. It might too late to access that investment account after your spouse cuts off access. Print out statements before your spouse takes action and before your first divorce attorney meeting.
- Get a divorce lawyer on your case as soon as possible. Even if you are not yet sure about the divorce, hire the best attorney you can as soon as you can. Some attorneys specialize in high-asset divorces and know exactly what to do to protect your rights.
Speak to a divorce attorney and learn more about high-asset divorces.