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Potential landmines in high-asset divorces

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While nearly all divorces involve the complicated process of valuing and prioritizing assets, things can get especially difficult in divorces involving high assets or business interests. When high-value assets are being counted and valued, even a seemingly-minor mistake can cost one of the parties tens or hundreds of thousands.

When one or both spouses own a business interest, it can further complicate the property division process. Many businesses demand a comprehensive valuation analysis to determine their true worth; a careful review of the business ledger or excel spreadsheets is not nearly enough. If one of the spouses is a high-level executive, he or she may have stock or business interests that are difficult to value and may be saddled with contingencies regarding their ownership or sales.

Another important asset that one or more of the spouses may erroneously overlook is life insurance. A high-value life insurance policy may require the creation of a trust account, in case a claim is ever made on the policy. Life insurance can be a crucial component for maintaining a particular standard of life in a foreseeable future.

That brings us to a third commonly-overlooked aspect of high-value divorces: Lifestyle. When one or more parties have grown accustomed to a particular lifestyle or standard of life, it can be an important consideration in divorce. This may necessitate a detailed examination of how money was spent during the marriage.

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