Coates & Davenport, P.C.

High-asset divorce requires fair asset valuation

No matter how amicably a divorcing couple in Richmond wishes to split, heightened emotions can cloud one's judgment, and lead a person to make less-than-rational decisions. This may be especially true in a high-asset divorce, since the stakes are so high. Therefore, it can help to seek the assistance of neutral financial experts when it comes to negotiating a settlement in a high-asset divorce, so that a fair result can be reached.

Part of keeping a high-asset divorce realistic is to seek the help of a valuation expert. This person can objectively determine how much the couple's assets are worth. However, keep in mind that sometimes, such as in the case of those who own a business, valuing an asset can be very complex.

One asset that is often undervalued is life insurance. Life insurance should be considered to be a piece of property with value attached to it, unlike auto insurance or homeowner's insurance. Life insurance policies can be worth a lot of money, but when couples think of their assets a life insurance policy might not even cross their minds. To determine the value of a life insurance policy, it is important to seek the help of someone experienced both in trusts and insurance.

In addition, high net worth couples may be used to living a certain lifestyle. It is important for couples to understand and discuss how this lifestyle will be affected once the divorce is finalized. This is especially true if one spouse earns significantly more than the other. Particularly when it comes to finances, having a forensic accounting of the couple's spending habits while married can help the parties determine how to resolve issues like property division and spousal support.

In the end, various financial experts should work alongside each party's attorneys when it comes to a high-asset divorce. Once a fair accounting of the couple's assets and income is made, it makes it easier for the couple along with their attorneys to negotiate a divorce settlement that is agreeable to all.

Source: Forbes, "Getting The Most From A High-Dollar Divorce," Russ Alan Prince, Dec. 1, 2014

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