High Net Worth Divorce Lawyers in Chicago Protecting Your Interests
If you and your partner have decided to separate, filing for divorce is the final step in ending your marriage and moving on with your life. But if you and your spouse have high-value assets or substantially high income, there may be unique factors to consider during the divorce process. Property division, child support, and spousal support can all be negotiated, but they take careful planning and processing during a high-asset divorce.
Fortunately, a high-net-worth divorce lawyer can help you divide your marital assets fairly while protecting your net worth. Our team at The Law Offices of Robert B. Buchanan has experience representing individuals in high-asset divorce cases to maintain their wealth while restructuring assets fairly. Whether you are concerned about your retirement accounts, tax implications, future earnings, or anything else, we are here to help. Contact our office today for a free consultation at 312-248-6170.
What is a High Net Worth Divorce?
A high net worth divorce is defined as a divorce process when couples have substantial wealth and assets. Typically, this term applies to any divorce involving assets worth over $1 million, although that number can be much higher today. Since these cases involve multiple high-value assets, they can become complex very quickly. Negotiating a settlement that splits high-net-worth assets equitably can be a long and arduous process.
Similarly, the standard formulas for dividing assets during divorce often do not apply. Courts use standard formulas for spousal maintenance and child support, but they are not always applicable for a high net-worth divorce. For instance, the formula for spousal maintenance awards only applies to couples with a combined income of $250,000 per year. For high-net-worth divorces, the court decides on a case-by-case basis what the child support and spousal maintenance payments should be.
How Are Assets Divided in a High Net Worth Divorce?
No matter how high your assets are as a couple, Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means the court will always attempt to divide assets equally and fairly for both parties. In high net worth divorce cases, the court will decide what is an equitable division based on your particular circumstances. However, the court cannot hold a singular party at fault for the divorce and give them a smaller share of the assets as punishment.
The dissipation exception may also be considered when dividing assets in a high-net-worth divorce. Dissipation is any money spent after the marriage broke down. For instance, one party may have spent money on expensive jewelry gifted to their new significant other, or they may have gone on a costly vacation as “revenge” for the impending divorce. In this case, the court may order that the spouse who spent the money repay a portion of those purchases.
What Factors Does a Judge Consider in High Net Worth Divorce Cases?
Since high-net-worth divorces are handled on a case-by-case basis, there are some factors a judge will use to determine how assets should be divided. Since Illinois is a no-fault state, judges cannot consider domestic violence, adultery, or abuse when deciding how to divide marital property.
Common factors that judges use include:
- Length of the marriage
- Age and health of each party
- Income earned by each spouse during the marriage
- Dissipation against the marital estate
- Potential future earnings of each spouse
- Contributions made by each spouse to the marital property
- Tax obligations of each spouse
- Child support or spousal support paid toward a previous marriage
What Are the Risk Factors for a High Net Worth Divorce?
All divorces carry some financial risk factors and consequences. However, high-asset divorces often have higher stakes and more significant risks.
Common risk factors in high net-worth divorces include:
If you and your spouse own a business together, the business will need a professional valuation. Splitting a business can have heavy tax consequences that can impact you and your spouse.
Separate vs. Marital Property
All marital property will be divided during a divorce. In high-net-worth couples, it can be challenging to determine what is separate property and what are marital assets. Fortunately, an experienced high net worth divorce lawyer can help you protect your individual assets to keep them from being split up.
Spousal support is a monthly payment made from one spouse to another. The amount and duration of this payment is determined by a judge in court. Spousal support can be requested in high net worth divorces to upkeep quality of life. However, spousal support can depend on specific circumstances, including property division.
Stock options and other executive compensation can be marital property during a divorce. Without an experienced divorce lawyer on your side, you may be forced to split these options with your spouse. However, this can be a complicated process, so having a professional on your side is essential.
Do I Need a High Net-Worth Divorce Attorney?
Property division is a very complex feature of high-asset divorce. To divide things equally with your spouse, you will need to make a full and complete accounting of all of your assets and any debts you have. Doing this incorrectly or neglecting to account for an asset can delay the divorce process and cost you money. Fortunately, with an experienced team of attorneys on your side, you can rest assured that your divorce will be filed correctly and on time.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for representation if you are going through a high-asset divorce. Call The Law Offices of Robert B. Buchanan today for a free consultation and to learn more about us.