How to Avoid a Long and Unfair High-Value Divorce: Part I of II
A high-net-worth marriage often presents a complicated picture, if and when a divorce becomes necessary. An affluent lifestyle, business ventures, multiple high-value assets, multiple homes, private schools, nannies…there can be a lot involved.
Fortunately, the issue isn’t “Can support be afforded?” but rather, “How much support will be enough?” To avoid a long, lengthy, drama-fueled divorce, here’s our best short list of what-to-dos for any high net worth divorce.
- Negotiate a premarital agreement before the marriage. A prenup is one of the most effective tools to manage and limit your risks. It may be difficult to ask your husband-to-be, but a properly prepared prenuptial document is designed to attend to almost every financial matter that could cause a dispute. In the event the odds of divorce don’t work in your favor, a prenup could save you both significant emotional and financial expenses.
- Recognize that a prenup may be required if a valuable family business is at stake. In a high-net-worth marriage, it’s not unusual for senior members of a family business to require their younger family members to secure a prenuptial agreement before granting them any share of the family business. Such a requirement is meant to protect the family business and the family’s high-value wealth from any divorce division dispute.
And If You Don’t Have A Prenup…?
If divorce seems to be a possibility—whether it’s something you’re considering or you have your own suspicions—making preparatory moves now will be the key to limiting your losses in a high-net-worth divorce. To protect against the exposure of your assets and liabilities, business ventures, and estate plans, we recommend the following:
- Contact and secure good counsel immediately. As your first step to be taken in the absence of a prenup, immediately schedule meetings with your accountant, financial advisor, estate planner, and a divorce attorney. In these meetings, you will want to discuss and limit the exposure of your situation. There are assets to protect and tax consequences to be analyzed, and your attorney will need to be able to present a clear and comprehensive plan of asset division to a judge.
- Make appropriate plans to allow “business as usual.” If you or your spouse is a business owner or has a close interest in a business, you won’t want the effects of a complicated divorce to interrupt business operations. To limit the damage that could be caused if forced to divide the value of the company, there are a number of legal steps that can be taken to protect your share.
- Know your rights; it will make a world of difference. Family courts are busy; they have limited time for any divorce case. With so much at stake in a high-net-worth divorce, it is critical that you take action now, rather than later, to protect your interests and to prepare a thorough division plan. Whether you’re the non-titled spouse or the “money” in the marriage, knowing your rights is the key to your best settlement outcome in a high-net-worth divorce.
Our law offices have assisted many women in situations not unlike yours. We can help navigate the proper course for a high-net worth divorce, to help protect you and your interests. Contact us today to speak with an experienced lawyer.