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Important Guidance for Couples Navigating High-Asset Divorce

While there are many different reasons that a couple might wind up getting divorced, even the most amicable of divorces can become complicated if there is a high net-worth involved. There might be multiple properties to allocate, a family business that must be divided, and investment portfolios that must be addressed.

This process becomes even more complicated if there are children involved. As a result, couples with significant assets should keep a few legal tips in mind to ensure that they minimize the cost of the divorce process and obtain a fair divorce settlement. 

Make Sure All Assets are on the Table

Full disclosure of all assets is required. Anything that has some sort of financial value is considered an asset. While some assets are obvious such as cars and houses, smaller items such as jewelry or guns may also be considered assets. Some of these can be quite expensive. In addition, it's not unusual for one spouse to try and hide monetary assets or bank accounts from the other party to keep these assets off the table. Make sure that a deep search is conducted to locate assets that might be hidden. This will ensure that all assets are divided fairly when it comes time to split the assets between both parties.

Identify All Property as Marital or Nonmarital Property

When a judge decides how to split up the assets of the couple, the judge will label all property as either marital or nonmarital. Marital property is generally property that the couple acquired while they were married regardless of title. This is property that will need to be divided as part of the divorce. Nonmarital property is property that one spouse already owned before the marriage, or which was received by gift or inheritance. The increase in value of these assets may be marital. One person's name is generally on the title. This property is typically not subject to being divided and simply stays with the person whose name is on the title. Make sure that the titles on all property are correct.

Consider Keeping Court Papers Private

When a high net-worth couple winds up getting divorced, even the friendliest of divorces can wind up in the public eye. Nobody wants to have their private life scrutinized by the general public. Therefore, it may be a good idea to request to file court papers privately, or "under seal".

This will shield the couple's assets and their divorce process from the eyes of curious people. Select courts may allow the documents to be sealed, meaning that only the people pertinent to the divorce will be able to see the divorce documents. If the documents aren't sealed, some sensitive information might be exposed to the public. Anyone who is going through a divorce should consider contacting an experienced divorce attorney for legal advice. This assistance can help to ensure that the process progresses as smoothly as possible, that costs to the couple are minimized and that assets are divided fairly.

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