Dividing property during a divorce can quickly become contentious, especially when the property’s value is extremely high. Illinois courts look to distribute a couple’s assets “equitably,” which leaves a lot of room for negotiation among many factors.
O. Long Law, LLC has Chicagoland divorce lawyers and financial professionals ready to assist you with your high-net-worth divorce. We are prepared to hear your case and will cooperate and guide you to safeguard your family’s future.
What Qualifies as a High Net Worth Divorce?
There is no specific number that makes a divorce considered “high net worth.” But, when considering high net worth divorce, items such as stock options, restricted stock units, business interests, and real properties may be at issue.
When spouses separate, they’ll have to divide their property, but part of the complication arises when determining what property can be split. The couple will own marital and non-marital assets, with marital assets being eligible for division.
Favorable Split of Business Equity in Divorce
In a long marriage with a co-owned business and no children, we obtained a favorable split of business equity and debt in the divorce for our client.
Client Keeps Entire Pension Post-Divorce
As part of a negotiated divorce settlement, we preserved our client’s entire pension, safeguarding what she spent her career building.
Settlement in Highly-Contested Divorce
After staying in divorce limbo for over three years, a client retained O. Long Law and quickly reached a mutually agreed conclusion.
Uncontested Divorce Resolved in 8 Weeks
Our client needed a speedy divorce, and she and her spouse had already come to an agreement. After coming to O. Long Law, we completed the entire process in 8 weeks.
Marital property is all the property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, including debts and obligations. Non-marital property includes property acquired by gift or inheritance; property acquired before the marriage; or property excluded by valid agreement of the parties, including a pre- or post-nuptial agreement.
What Property Could Make a Divorce High Net Worth?
When attorneys and judges consider a couple’s property during divorce proceedings, they’ll look at physical and financial assets, which could mean buildings, stocks, and businesses. An experienced divorce attorney can help you determine the classification of property between marital and non-marital, the value of that property, and your options for dividing it.
High net worth divorces often include building your team with other professionals competent to value properties, businesses, or other assets, find and determine the value of offshore or international accounts, classify and divide retirement savings accounts, appraise high-value physical property, and advise in complex tax situations.
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What Is Equitable Distribution?
Once you know what will be split, it’s essential to understand how it can be separated. Illinois’ equitable distribution means the court will divide the property in a manner it believes is fair, after considering some factors. The court won’t take sides in a divorce, giving one party more because it thinks they are less at fault for the separation than the other party.
The court won’t consider factors like adultery, domestic violence, abuse, or either spouse’s conduct.
Unless you and your spouse can make an agreement, you will go to trial and leave many decisions to a judge. After looking at all factors, the judge will decide an equitable way to divide property. Each party needs to know what is considered marital and non-marital property, especially because the property can be difficult to value.
Alimony Payments in a High Net Worth Divorce
Illinois courts calculate spousal maintenance, formerly known as alimony, with a formula, although it is meant for couples earning less than $250,000 a year. Because high net worth divorces generally value more than that, the formula may not apply in your situation. Instead, the court will consider several factors, including:
Instead, they’ll consider factors like:
- Income earned by each spouse during the marriage
- Length of the marriage
- Age and health of the spouses
- Likely future earnings of each spouse
- Contributions made by each spouse to the marriage and the marital estate
- Child support or spousal maintenance payments from prior marriages
- Tax obligations
Other Considerations in a High Net Worth Divorce
There will be other factors that could impact your high net worth divorce. Some couples may have drafted and signed prenuptial documents to divide or protect assets in the event of a divorce. Some spouses spend money for a non-marital purpose and have to pay it back to the marriage. That action, called dissipation, might include expensive gifts to someone who isn’t their spouse or improving a property they bought prior to the marriage.
Hiring an attorney with Illinois family law experience will benefit you. They’ll know about the law’s intricacies while fighting for you to get the best outcome in a high net worth divorce.
Call the Evanston, IL Divorce Lawyers
The attorneys at O. Long Law are ready to hear your case and get started protecting your future. High net worth divorces are complicated and can be daunting to handle independently. Our attorneys and in-house Financial Strategist are prepared to work with you to find a solution in a divorce where the assets have a high value.