Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Protecting your property division rights in a high-asset divorce

Property division, especially in a high-asset divorce, can be a tricky issue. It is often not as simple as just dividing everything in half. Virginia is an "equitable distribution" state, meaning asset division will be handled in a manner that is fair, even if it does not result in an exact 50/50 split. When couples have highly valuable assets, such as a home, investments, a business or more, it is important that each spouse's interests are protected if they divorce.

In general, only assets that were obtained while the couple was married are subject to property division. Assets owned before the marriage generally are not included in the divisible estate. It is important for couples going through a divorce to understand what they own and what they owe. For example, in addition to tangible property, they should come to the negotiation table with evidence of the income they both earned while married, mortgage and credit card statements from the last few months, bank account statements, information on retirement and pension accounts they hold and information on their taxes.

With this information and a full disclosure of assets by both parties, it may be possible to negotiate property division out-of-court. However, in a high-asset divorce when a couple is dealing with highly valuable assets, sometimes asset division is so complex that it cannot be negotiated and must be litigated. At our firm, we believe in safeguarding our clients' rights in the asset division process. Sometimes a settlement is a possibility, but we will not let our clients give away what they are due with regards to their marital property. Thus, if settlements fail, we will aggressively protect our clients' interests in court.

When a couple is in a high-asset divorce, they may be rightfully concerned about what their future holds. They will be accustomed to a certain lifestyle, and they have the right to walk away from the divorce with what is fairly theirs. Our web page on property division may be a good starting point for high-asset individuals who want to learn more about this topic.

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