High Networth Individuals: What to Do When Getting Divorced

expensive sports car parked in front of mansion

Divorce, no matter how amicable, frequently involves moments of frustration and financial worry. Couples who are ending their marriage in Maryland or Washington D.C. also have the stress of their assets being divided equitably. Unlike community property states, where everything is distributed 50/50, equitable division does not mean equal.

If you and your spouse have significant assets, divorcing can raise other issues involving taxes and asset tracking. Any incorrect details on submitted financial statements could mean IRS auditing. Knowing what risks you face as a high net worth individual is crucial when ending your marriage. Working with the skilled divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl can prove a wise choice in protecting your financial interests during the dissolution process.

What Is a High Asset Divorce?

When you hear the term “high asset divorce,” you might imagine a Hollywood celebrity or multi-millionaire in Silicon Valley. In reality, couples who have 401k balances nearing a million dollars in value or those who have mutual fund investments and property exceeding this amount would also fall under this divorce category. You may have several life insurance policies, derivatives, a business, or patents, all of which will continue to accrue value after divorce. These are considered high net worth assets and can be complicated to divide fairly between you and your spouse. 

It’s not uncommon with so much money at stake for your ex-spouse to want higher values of child support, alimony, or property awards. Even if you had a prenup or postnup in place, the validity of these marital contracts could be contested.

Things to Consider When Preparing For a High Asset Divorce

Facing a divorce that is complicated by high net worth assets can be stressful and potentially leave you with an unfair division of marital property. To best prepare for dissolution when you have significant property and money at stake, consider the following tips and speak with The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl right away.

Learn How Maryland and D.C. Marital Property Law Affects Your Divorce

Because Maryland and D.C. are equitable distribution states, the court will consider many factors when dividing your marital property.

These factors often include the following:

How long you were married

  • What needs you, your spouse and any children might have
  • The physical and mental health of both parties
  • The ages of both spouses
  • Circumstances leading to the divorce
  • Asset tracking that determines what property you both brought to the marriage
  • How much each of you contributed to the marriage
  • The economic circumstances of all involved

While things like a checking or savings account, marital home, vacation property, and vehicles may seem like obvious assets affected by divorce, keep in mind the below are as well:

  • Rental property and other real estate
  • Businesses that you share or are considered self-run
  • Shared business or self-run business could be subjected to division
  • Retirement accounts
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Mutual funds
  • Stocks
  • Pensions
  • Collectibles like coins, artwork, and antiques

This is just a small example of the many types of high net worth assets that the court’s marital division process could impact.

Hidden Assets

Another significant issue with high net worth divorces is if a spouse has hidden assets to avoid the marital division process. This reality is why attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl will help you take an accurate inventory, including the value associated with these assets. If you brought any property into the marriage, we could also help you trace them and determine if they are now commingled with other marital assets. 

Be Open to Advice if Considering a Settlement

Settlement negotiations are a natural part of any divorce, and accepting such an agreement can be challenging with so much at stake. One way to prepare for this phase of your dissolution is to speak with a financial planner about your future retirement needs. This information can help your Maryland divorce attorney to better assess any risks in this process and know what outcome to work toward.

Lifestyle After Divorce Does Matter

Comparing what one’s lifestyle will be before and after divorce is necessary if there is a disparity created because of you or your spouse’s ability to work or other factors. This disparity may be viewed as unconscionable if a spouse receives significantly fewer assets or income than the other. Often the age of the parties divorcing and the property they need to divide will impact whether support is also awarded or not.

Always speak with a knowledgeable divorce attorney to better understand how marital asset division will affect your financial well-being. They can act as not just your advocate but also ensure that you receive an equitable share of property, money, and other valuables you share with your spouse.

Learn More About Your Options in a D.C. High Net Worth Divorce

When your future financial well-being is on the line, you may find yourself unsure what you can do to protect your interests during your divorce. In this situation, a highly trained divorce lawyer with a proven record of representing this type of divorce is crucial. High asset divorce is a unique type of family law. Any counsel you rely on should have extensive knowledge of your circumstances and help you avoid these common mistakes:

  • Making anger-based decisions
  • Hiding assets
  • Allowing yourself to make rushed decisions
  • Being focused on winning no matter what
  • Failing to protect your resources adequately
  • Not having an asset inventory before starting a divorce
  • Being unaware of or ignoring tax liabilities

Divorce lawyer Thomas Stahl has helped countless Maryland and DC couples settle their divorces and move on with their lives. As a recognized Super LawyerTM from 2019 to 2021, he has continued to prove his commitment to helping his clients achieve divorce agreements that are effective and beneficial for their needs. Contact his firm today at (410) 696-4326 or online to schedule a free consultation.

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