Determining Your Marital Net Worth in a High-Value Divorce Is a Complicated Business
In March 2013, we wrote a piece about oil baron Harold Hamm, who was, at the time, ranked 35th in Forbes list of the top 50 richest Americans. Today, Harold Hamm is the 24th richest man in America…and freshly divorced. Sue Ann Hamm, his new ex-wife, will now be among the richest women in America, to receive the largest high net-worth divorce settlement payout in history, worth nearly one billion dollars.
For any high-value divorce like that of Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Hamm, there are a number of issues to be taken into consideration and measured, from the beginning of the marriage to its proposed end:
- For business arrangements, partnerships, deferred compensation, and stock options, obtaining an accurate valuation of your current and future profits and compensation can be a highly complex process. Typically, expert counsel is absolutely necessary to determine a fair accounting of all that’s involved.
- Real estate holdings can include numerous and varied property types, from vacation homes to investment properties. How such holdings were brought into your marital portfolio can make all the difference as to who will get what.
- Contributions made to complicated retirement plans during your marriage, including pensions, life insurance benefits, and 401(k) plans, will need to be analyzed to determine how large your piece of the retirement pie should be post-divorce.
- Determining the current and future values of your financial investments—stocks, bonds, and investment properties—will require a thorough appraisal and negotiations. Handling the division of these assets the right way can significantly influence how your quality of life after the marriage ends.
- There are a number of tax laws and structures and fiscal planning measures to contend with if you have substantial wealth. If not handled properly, you and your investments could suffer under significant tax exposure.
- A detailed review of any prenuptial and post-nuptial documents will be necessary, in order to understand any initial agreements made before or during your marriage. Even if you’ve heard the phrase “air-tight” used in reference to these types of documents, the current laws may render your prior agreements null and void either in part or as a whole. However, there may be other ways to protect you.
Don’t Delay: Take the Necessary Steps to Protect Your Future
If you believe a divorce is in your future and you and your spouse have high amounts of assets, it is of the utmost importance that you seek and secure legal counsel as early as possible. Even before divorce proceedings begin, a lawyer can advise you in ways that will help you protect and maintain control of your marital assets that could be at stake.
At the Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan, we have assisted many women in situations not unlike yours, helping to chart the way through their high-asset divorces. We can help protect you and your assets. Contact us today to speak with a lawyer about your situation.
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