Divorce is rarely easy. However, when a couple shares a complex portfolio of valuable assets, things can get complicated fast. Whether everyone involved is up front about their finances or some things are hidden away, special care must be taken to ensure a fair result.
If your portfolio includes any of the following, be sure to approach property division carefully:
A family business
Business interests are a common sticking point in divorce. When a couple runs their own business, there are generally three options for handling it in the divorce:
- One spouse retains the business, while the other gets another asset of equal value
- Sell the business and divide the proceeds
- Create an agreement to continue jointly operating the business
In relatively amicable splits, it is possible to have both spouses continue to participate in business operations. Where a business is particularly lucrative, this can be an attractive option. The important thing is to ensure the agreement covers what will happen in the event the arrangement breaks down.
As we discussed in a previous post, retirement funds are a valuable asset that, to some spouses’ vexation, can be divided in a divorce. If one spouse was financially dependent on the other during the marriage, they may worry that in their retirement years they’ll be out of luck. In most cases, this is handled through a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order). A QDRO is a court order that adds another payee to a retirement account and allows funds to be taken out tax-free.
The valuation of unique personal property is essential to ensuring assets are divided fairly. Such items might include:
Engaging a professional to appraise personal property can help clear up any disputes.
Other valuable assets might include trusts, bonds, stock options and other investments. To protect your interests and safeguard your future, consult with an attorney experienced in high-asset divorce.