If you and your spouse acquired a lot of assets during your marriage, that could mean your divorce may end up complex and drawn out for a long time. If you don’t have a prenuptial agreement on record and can’t compromise on terms for an uncontested divorce, the courts will need to handle all of the biggest decisions. Their goal will be a just division of assets. That can lead to a long and contentious divorce process.
Child custody and support are often issues that cause a lot of frustration during divorce. Asset division is another common source of disagreements. It’s not rare for spouses with considerable or complex assets to disagree about how to split those possessions up when they divorce. While no one can predict the exact outcome of a divorce case, you can inform yourself about risk factors and likely results.
Watch out for hidden and overlooked assets
Even though it’s against the law, some people will take drastic steps to attempt to hide assets from a spouse or the courts in a divorce. If you have any reason to suspect hidden assets, you need to proceed carefully. Accurate financial records are critical to helping you locate any potentially hidden assets in a divorce.
However, even if your spouse hasn’t directly hidden assets from you, you may miss assets that have considerable value. It’s important to realize that you should report all assets to the courts, not just the ones you want in the divorce. If your spouse has a collection of fine art, muscle cars or jewelry purchased during your marriage, the value of that collection should factor into your asset division process. Don’t overlook a potentially massive source of value and lose out as a result.
Putting a price on assets isn’t always easy
When you have a high-asset marriage, it’s likely that some of your assets are non-traditional assets. Instead of just a single savings account, you may have invested in undeveloped real estate, income properties, a business or even special investment accounts.
You need to know a reasonable fair market value for these assets to ensure a fair division process. Simply guessing on a price could prove to be a major mistake. You may need to work with professionals to set a reasonable value on unusual or complicated assets.
Retirement accounts and pensions may get split as well
Regardless of whose name is on the account, you could need to divide your retirement accounts and even your pension. Depending on when you made deposits into the account, the courts may divide your actual accounts. Other times, the value of the account may be offset by other valuable assets.
Regardless of the exact manner in which the courts choose to address the account, whether to split it or award it to one spouse, the value of the account will typically factor into the total value of your marital property.