Your High Asset Divorce can have pitfalls that are more damaging than a divorce case with little to no assets. There is just so much more to lose in high asset divorce. Many high asset clients are very savvy about their finances, which is how they fall into the “high asset” category to begin with. So, there are certain issues in which these individuals need to exercise extreme caution to ensure that they are obtaining everything that they can during their divorce proceedings.
4 Things to Avoid in Your High Asset Divorce
Do not let yourself fall victim to these common mistakes:
1. Completing Discovery, even if the relationship is “amicable”
Some parties to a marriage may believe they know everything about their and their partner’s finances. Other parties may know nothing about each other’s finances. Frankly, it doesn’t matter either way, because in both scenarios it is very important to complete discovery. Waiving a right to discovery means there is a possibility that there is information out there which you are not privy to, and possibly even assets out there that you are not privy to.
Discovery is the process of obtaining documentation relative to all of both parties’ income, debts and assets. These are years of bank records, credit card statements, stock documentation, mortgage statements, tax returns, and pay stubs. It happens all of the time. Parties assume that they file joint taxes and have a joint bank account, so they must know everything about each other’s finances. The only way to ensure that you are protected is to go through the discovery process, regardless. During discovery, the parties each sign affidavits indicating they have made a full and fair disclosure of their property, assets, and liabilities. These affidavits can be used against the signing parties later if it turns out that this is not true. However, a party who is not diligent who later finds out about hidden assets may have a hard time arguing that they are entitled to a portion of the hidden assets when they did not do their due diligence. It is so important to always complete discovery to protect yourself.
2. Divorcing Without an Attorney
We’ve heard it all before. “We agree on everything, so I don’t need a divorce attorney.” In a high asset divorce, the stakes are high. It is impossible to know what your rights are without representation, and ignorance will not be a defense later if you try to obtain something that you were entitled to, but did not know you could have or should have obtained. Hiring an attorney is crucial and necessary in these cases.
3. Hiding Your Assets
This one is simple.
- Don’t transfer property to your best friend.
- Don’t ask your employer to lie about how much money you own.
- Don’t transfer your car to your brother in law.
These things always look suspicious and even if you think you can get away with it, it will likely come back to bite you. It is easier for your attorney to argue that you should have a larger share of an asset than to defend you when you get caught hiding said asset. Judges are human and these things make them extremely angry, and you are creating more work for your attorney, which is more expensive for you.
4. Not Hiring Proper Evaluators for Large or Unique Assets
The house down the street may have just sold at a loss or may have had substantial issues you are not aware of which justifies the low price. Using that price as a comparable when valuing your own home may be a major mistake and you may be losing money you would have been entitled to in a buy-out situation. The best way to value your home, business or other large asset is to hire an evaluator or forensic accountant. It is necessary to ensure that you obtain the most equitable settlement possible in your high asset divorce.
If you’re facing a divorce and it is common to have concerns about dividing the various kinds of property and debts accumulated during the marriage. When you need assistance and advice from knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorneys, contact Anderson & Boback and we’ll be ready to help you with all aspects of your high asset divorce.