Do Not Follow These Examples
With more money and a larger variety of complex assets, high-asset divorce involves much higher stakes than a more “traditional” divorce. With these high stakes can come a great deal of stress, and with that stress can come poor decisions that can have a significant impact on your financial health both now and in the future.
Avoid these actions that others have taken that have ended up being significant mistakes.
Mistake #1: Hiding Assets
While it’s certainly understandable for someone to gradually save money leading up to divorce in order to better afford the costs of the process, you may discover that a larger amount of money than you anticipated is missing from your accounts. You may also have a harder time locating certain assets. In these situations, you may suspect that your spouse is hiding assets from you in order to protect them from asset division in the divorce.
Intentionally hiding assets in a divorce is illegal, as the asset disclosures you and your spouse fill out during the early part of the process are taken as sworn statements once signed. If it is discovered that one spouse is hiding assets from the other during the divorce, that spouse can face significant consequences.
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets in your divorce, be sure to discuss your suspicions with your high-asset divorce attorney; they may be able to point you in the direction of a forensic accountant to help you uncover the truth.
Mistake #2: Failure to be Thorough
High-asset divorce requires much of its participants. Each party should be thorough and accurate in all paperwork, and simple mistakes, no matter how seemingly harmless, can complicate the process.
What does this mean for you? First, be thorough in your own investigation of your assets. The court can only divide assets that it knows about, and failing to disclose assets that you own, even if completely unintentional, could lead to accusations of hiding assets. Take the time early on to comb through all of your assets and list them out accurately.
Second, you should consider working with outside experts to accurately appraise more complicated assets. Assets such as real estate, retirement accounts, stocks, and even digital assets such as cryptocurrencies can be difficult to place an accurate value on because of how the markets associated with these assets work. A forensic accountant can help you determine the true valuations of these assets to ensure that all property is divided in a manner that is truly equal.
Mistake #3: Making Hasty Decisions
Because the stakes in high-asset divorces are rather high, it is easy to let the tension surrounding the process gradually get to you and allow yourself to become frustrated. When emotions start to boil over, then it can lead to hasty decisions that are made based on emotion and not on rational thought. This can lead to agreeing to a settlement that truly is not fair to you and ends up costing you a lot of money and other assets.
When emotions start to become overwhelming, consult with your high-asset divorce attorney in order to gain a clear picture of where you are and what you stand to gain or lose with a proposed settlement. Your attorney will be an objective party and can provide you with a sense of calm in the midst of a difficult storm.