Couples in Illinois who have assets or incomes that could categorize them as being “high net worth” are often seen by outsiders as being uniquely privileged or immune from the struggles of life. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and - at least when it comes to divorce - having a high net worth can present individuals with particularly challenging problems.
Dividing marital property in the form of complex financial instruments, determining unusual amounts of spousal maintenance and child support, and handling the tax implications of divorce are just a few of the problems that must be solved. Even if you do not consider yourself wealthy, if you own assets worth a million dollars are more, it may be helpful to consult with a qualified Illinois divorce attorney with experience in high net worth divorces.
Spousal Maintenance and Child Support
Establishing monthly payments for spousal maintenance (formerly alimony) and child support can be uniquely challenging when wealth is involved. Judges will likely deviate from typical child support payments, and spouses may enter protracted negotiations over what they view as fair support after the marriage ends. Although child support payments are usually determined using a pre-existing formula, when one spouse’s income far exceeds the other or when both spouses have substantial wealth, this formula may not be helpful.
Spouses with numerous or valuable assets must decide how to divide them. Should they be traded in exchange for other priorities, divided later on (as with retirement accounts and QDROs), or sold and the value split between spouses? Sometimes negotiations are delayed by a spouse who attempts to hide assets when time and effort must be spent on recovering them. Sometimes it takes time to value complex or unique assets like small businesses. Whatever the reason, high net worth individuals frequently face a longer and more complex negotiation process than other couples.
Many high-net-worth individuals are in positions of high visibility or public service. Political leaders, celebrities, and business executives risk having the details of their divorce exposed to the public by journalists, busybodies, or unethical acquaintances. An attorney who understands these concerns can help spouses keep their divorce private by requesting certain records be sealed or by ensuring the details of parenting or asset division agreements are not available to the public....