For most couples, the nature of their marriages is the joining of their lives. Tangibly, this often means commingling their property and finances and providing mutual support for each other's success. You and your spouse may have enjoyed this for at least part of your marriage. Whether you made your fortune together or brought your money into the marriage, you are now left with the unenviable task of dividing it through divorce.
If you and your spouse have substantial assets, you probably already understand how complicated your divorce can get, especially if you have been married long enough for your assets to become intertwined. While you will certainly want the assistance of a skilled attorney who has experience in handling the divorces of wealthy spouses, there are some things you may be able to resolve with your spouse before beginning divorce proceedings.
One of the most difficult agreements you and your spouse must reach is what to do with the house. Whether the home has sentimental value or you simply love living there, the two of you will have to decide how to divide the property. There are a limited number of options, but the simplest and most realistic move is often to sell the house and split the profit. However, one of you may be able to qualify to refinance the mortgage and continue living there.
You may also find a way to trade off other assets during property division if the house is particularly important to you. The riskiest option is to keep the house and continuing sharing its ownership and responsibilities. With this complicated plan, you will need a detailed and thorough ownership contract as part of your divorce settlement.
Dividing your investments is one area in which the skill and knowledge of your attorney can be invaluable. Not every asset can be taken at its face value. It may seem efficient to liquidate some assets for the purpose of property division. However, this may result in hefty fees and substantial tax implications. Your retirement plan, pension plan or other investments may require a court order called a qualified domestic relations order before you can transfer its funds to your spouse.
Understanding these issues is crucial before taking any steps to divide your assets. Whether you and your spouse opt for alternative dispute resolution or a traditional litigated divorce, the quality of your legal counsel can improve the chances that your settlement will be satisfying, fair and long-lasting.