Divorcing When Wealthy: Please Use Common Sense

Divorce is never an easy decision, but when wealth enters the equation, it adds layers of complexity that can make the process more challenging. High-net-worth individuals face unique issues and considerations when seeking to dissolve their marriages. Nearly all divorces are resolved through negotiations, and negotiations are especially important when a couple is wealthy.

Legal Representation

The more the two of you have, the more is at stake in a divorce. High-net-worth divorces require specialized legal representation and the use of outside experts. You rely on other professionals to run your business or manage your wealth. It only makes sense to retain a Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., attorney to protect your interests during this critical time in your life. We will help you negotiate the best resolution possible for you and your family.

Equitable Asset Division

One of the most significant challenges in a high-net-worth divorce is the division of assets. The greater the assets and the more complex they are, the more difficult it can be to unwind the financial relationship between the two of you. Once we get all the information about the assets you hold, we can begin to negotiate a fair and reasonable division that will work for both parties.

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are legal documents specifying the division of assets if the couple divorces. These agreements are especially useful when one or both parties have substantial wealth. If the two of you signed an agreement, we can review it.

If it is properly written and executed, it is binding. All that the agreement covers cannot be disputed or litigated during the divorce. That is good if the agreement is favorable to you, not so much if it is not.

Spousal Support

Depending on the circumstances, wealthy individuals may be required to pay substantial spousal support (alimony) to their former spouse. The marriage’s length, the income disparity between the parties, and the lifestyle to which the spouses are accustomed play a role in determining the amount and duration of spousal support.

Negotiating this aspect can be contentious, and often, the party potentially paying the support may be able to lessen or eliminate it if the other party receives certain assets or other issues are negotiated in their favor.

Business Interests

For those owning businesses, divorce can significantly impact a company’s operation and ownership. It is vital to consider the implications of a divorce on the business, including issues like stock ownership, control, and valuation. Depending on which side you are on, you want to protect your business interests and ensure its continuity, or you want your fair and equitable share of the company. Negotiations concerning the ownership of a family business can become emotionally charged, but it is something we have successfully handled many times.

Take the Best Approach

Litigation involving high-net-worth individuals can be very complex, time-consuming, and expensive. Those with more resources can spend more on litigation, but that is not necessarily a good idea.

In addition to spending hard-earned family wealth in the courtroom, divorce trials are open to the public. Whatever “dirty laundry” aired at trial can become public knowledge. You also lose control of the divorce’s outcome when it is put into the hands of a judge or jury.

Reaching a divorce settlement is like negotiating a business deal. It is all about costs, benefits, risks, and how to best manage them. Your divorce will be resolved one way or another. If the parties are reasonable, common sense will dictate the give and take between the parties. Once both parties know all the facts about your assets and other relevant issues, it is best to start negotiations sooner rather than later, because they could take a long time.

If your spouse is unreasonable when negotiating or sees the divorce as a way to get “payback,” litigation may be inevitable. Whatever path your case takes, Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., attorneys will protect your interests and defend your rights.

Get the Help You Need from an Attorney You Can Trust 

If you are thinking about getting divorced or you have decided it is the right choice for you, call us at (215) 608-1867 or schedule a consultation online now. No matter your income or assets, you can start a new chapter in your life. We can discuss your situation over the phone, via a teleconference, or meet in our Langhorne or Doylestown office.