High Asset Divorce
Unfortunately, there is an old expression that the wealthier someone becomes, the more problems they are bound to have. These financial problems become particularly compounded when marriages and families get involved.
While it is part of the American dream for a person to be able to earn enough to provide financial security to their family and children, that then can create a major headache in the event of a divorce.
High Asset divorces are particularly difficult to manage, for several reasons:
- The more money and assets involved in a person's estate, the harder it is for people, by themselves, to be able to understand and mentally estimate the value of their worth and possessions (Forbes). This difficultly leads to many high asset divorces possibly being one sided, with one of the parties not receiving an equitable share of the marital assets and value - which is the goal for any ethical and competent family law attorney.
- High Asset estates tend to be spread across a large amount of areas. "Not leaving all your eggs in one basket" is sound financial advice, but when it comes to a divorce, these matters complicate an already difficult process. Discovering assets can be an extremely lengthy process in and of itself, not to mention having the possibility of creating extreme emotional upheaval if one spouse has not been truthful to the other.
- Not all assets are easy to translate into a financial value,leading to ambiguity in the divorce process. Stocks, business values, priceless items, and other assets that wealthy people may own, are not always easy to value, and therefore can create a challenging situation for courts to determine a fair distribution.
Along with the many practical issues around valuing assets, a High Asset Divorce adds an extra layer of stress and discomfort around a family having to divide their high value assets. There is bound to be disagreement, which has the unfortunate side effect of creating fears and worry about deceit, and paranoia from both parties. (Kramer)
Currently, the State of Florida does not necessarily assign any special way of handling High Asset divorces.
Courts handle the assessment of all asses, including high value assets through a process called Valuation. Unfortunately, Valuation is not an exact science and could benefit from the use of several experts, such as a property appraiser and a forensic accountant. A property appraiser can appraise any real property included in the marital estate. This can be helpful when the parties dispute over the value of a certain real property. A property appraiser should be selected that has experience in the family court system, as they may be required to testify in court and should be familiar with that process. Similarly, a forensic accountant is useful in determining the value of certain marital and non-marital assets. A forensic accountant is also helpful in cases where a party has never been apprised of the family’s finances prior to the commencement of a divorce process. In those cases, part of the forensic accountant’s role is to educate that spouse so that he or she can make an informed decision at a time of settlement.
Of course, this system requires a very specific expertise that some attorneys may find a challenge. The outcome, then, can lead to a severe mis-evaluation, leaving a client blindsided and open to not getting their fair portion of the assets if a client does not work with an experienced and competent attorney and a forensic accountant.
Additionally, an attorney that is not well versed in such High Value Divorce proceedings, may not have the confidence to quell the unfortunate emotions that may arise, and turn what could be a straight-forward matter, into an ugly dispute between two people, costing a considerable amount of time and money.
Vilar Law, has over 24 years of serving clients, including clients that will have High Asset divorces. That experience and knowledge of dealing with even the most complicated of cases, leaves clients confident that their interests will be protected in the face of any difficulty.
Please contact the Vilar Law offices at (305)373-8000, to evaluate your High Asset Divorce.
This is probably your first time dealing with these important issues, but it certainly is not ours...Sources