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Divorce on Steroids

Being rich changes everything. With the right finances, you can find yourself granted access to a lifestyle of which others only dream. Such a lifestyle often includes extravagant properties, exotic vacations, celebrity friends, and the regular occurrence of opportunities that would typically be deemed “once in a lifetime.”

Yet, for all of its perks, being a high net-worth individual also has stark disadvantages. A glaring example is a divorce. Being “rich” amplifies the intensity of divorce because there is usually far more money, assets, and assorted “moving pieces” in play. Couples who are not in the upper echelon of wealth do not have to worry about dividing so many financial assets. This is not to diminish divorce by those in differing income groups. It is just that, as the late rapper Christopher Wallace declared, “More money; more problems.”

Those who are rich have to deal with divorces that are amplified by their wealth. In doing so, radical new problems may emerge that are unknown to the average divorcee. One of these problems is omitted assets. A high net-worth party may be tempted to conceal a shared asset to prevent the other from benefitting in the property division. Such action would be unlawful of course, but the wrongdoer would only be punished if the other spouse became aware of the fraud and exposed it.

Alternatively, a high net-worth divorce can be complicated by the division of known assets. In this case, the couple’s problems may stem from the inability of given assets to be divided or a reluctance by either to part with the assets. The couple could find trouble, for example, if they both desired a priceless antique that they had previously co-owned. The antique couldn’t be physically cut in half, as would be the case with a bank account. If neither spouse compromised, the only way to resolve such a situation would be to battle it out in court. A judge might then award the asset to one of the spouses, or the judge might order the asset to be sold and the proceeds divided equally between the spouses. Such a situation may seem uncommon, but in a high net-worth divorce, the sheer volume of wealth makes it imperative to expect the unexpected.

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