High Risk in High Asset Divorces

Alan R. Burton Attorney at Law

Property division is one of the main issues to settle in most divorces. If a couple does not own a home or have much money saved, property division determinations may be relatively simple. However, the stakes get significantly higher for couples who have a high net worth, and division of property may be extremely complicated with both sides fighting for a substantial piece of the marital wealth. Many couples earned their wealth after marriage, so they do not have a prenuptial agreement in place to predetermine property division. If you believe you may be facing a high net worth divorce, you should always have a divorce attorney who has experience in this type of case on your side.

Russian Tycoon Fights to Keep Fortune

Dmitry Rybolovlev is a fertilizer tycoon who has been involved in an adversarial divorce for about six years, which has been commonly referred to as the most expensive divorce in history to date. A Geneva court recently awarded his estranged wife a $4.5 billion divorce settlement. Rybolovlev plans to appeal the ruling, and his attorney expects the case to drag on potentially for another decade. However, when billions of dollars are at stake, one can hardly blame Rybolovlev for fighting the ruling.

Huge Settlements in the United States

Though that ruling took place outside of the United States, the U.S. has seen some seemingly astronomical divorce settlements. The following are some of the highest settlements reported:

  • Frank McCourt, owner of the LA Dodgers–$131 million
  • Neil Diamond–$150 million
  • Michael Jordan–$168 million
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger–rumored between $250-$375 million
  • Mel Gibson–$425 million
  • Steve Wynn–$741 million
  • Rupert Murdoch–$1.7 billion

Issues in High Net Worth Divorces

Couples with a high net worth often have a wide variety of assets and property, which must all be identified and properly divided. Some types of assets at issue in high stakes divorces include the following:

  • Real property, such as a primary residence, vacation houses, and residential and commercial investment properties;
  • Personal property, including all types of motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, collections of art or antiques, jewelry, furniture, among many other things;
  • Personal bank accounts;
  • Retirement accounts, vested or unvested;
  • Investments, including international investments;
  • Business entities, including all business accounts, assets, and properties; and
  • Stocks or stock options.

Determining the value of all of a wealthy couple’s assets can be extremely complicated, as the couple may have international accounts, properties, businesses, and investments across the world. Additionally, one spouse may deceitfully try to hide assets in offshore accounts or conceal certain sources of income from federal tax returns in order to avoid division of that property. For this reason, you should always seek out the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney who can use financial experts to fully identify all marital assets to ensure equitable distribution.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Boca Raton or Ft. Lauderdale

Attorney Alan Burton has experience handling all types of divorce cases, including those where significant assets are at stake. Do not hesitate to contact our offices in Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale for assistance with your divorce today.

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