High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer in Illinois
High net worth divorces involve couples whose property has a high monetary value. These types of divorces proceed under the same legal principles and procedures but are more complicated given the nature and extent of the property to be divided. High-asset divorces are often facilitated by prenuptial or postnuptial agreements when they are applicable and have been lawfully made, but even in these situations, the terms and conditions can be successfully challenged.
Having a resourceful, experienced high net worth divorce lawyer in Illinois is critical to a fair divorce. At The Law Firm of Erin N Birt PC (Birt Law), our high-asset divorce attorney and accountant paralegal in DuPage County will review your documents, property, and claims, and explain your legal options. Throughout the process, we uphold your rights and interests. Contact us today at (630) 891-2478 to learn more about high net worth divorces in Illinois and how we can help you.
What is a High Net Worth Divorce?
Most divorces are contentious matters, with parties disputing who should get what. For couples that have assets worth a large amount of money, it can be even more complicated and litigious. These divorces are considered to be of high net worth, and the issues that must be handled in them are often far more complicated than a typical divorce. Often out of court private options allow for more customization and privacy for our clients, however, if court involvement is needed, we will seek assistance from the court.
Common Issues to Consider in High Net Worth Divorces in Illinois
High net worth divorces generally have issues that are unique to persons with a large amount of assets. Following are some of the matters that must be considered in these divorces.
The first matter to consider is marital property. This property is the subject of what's to be distributed between the parties. Different states will handle what is considered marital property in different ways, but the main issues generally center around:
- Whether or not the state is a community property or equitable distribution state
- Whether or not the parties entered into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
- Whether or not some or all of the assets were owned by one of the parties prior to marriage
- Whether or not the assets were inherited by one party
There may be other considerations as well, depending on the jurisdiction where the divorce occurs.
Determining the value of assets can be a complicated process involving expert valuations and opinions. These experts must have access to pertinent documentation, conduct research, and prepare a valuation or appraisal report that can be presented in court. The expert may be expected to testify in court as to how they reached the values they placed on the assets.
Valuation of assets can be particularly difficult as many of the assets are fluid, with changing value. This includes stocks and businesses whose futures are unpredictable.
Distributing property with high values can trigger a myriad of tax considerations. Often, a CPA or tax attorney will need to be brought in to determine the tax implications of certain property distributions. How the distribution will be affected by governing tax laws can affect how the parties divide the property.
Alimony, referred to as maintenance in Illinois, is sometimes involved in high-asset divorces. Often, there may be a financially dependent spouse because one spouse has concentrated their time on growing the family's wealth while the other spent all their time raising children and caring for the home. The parties can either agree to the length of time and amount of maintenance or the court will decide it.
Not So Common Issues in Illinois High Net Worth Divorces
In most circumstances, including in Illinois, divorces are filed as no-fault divorces. This means that the marriage is irretrievably broken or the couple has irreconcilable differences. In some states, however, one spouse may file for a fault-based divorce to obtain a greater portion of the assets.
Some jurisdictions will consider something like adultery when determining the distribution of assets if that spouse wasted marital assets. The spouse would have to show that the adulterous spouse wasted marital property on and during the affair. The value of that waste would have to be determined and then could be compensated through asset division. In Illinois, we call this dissipation.
How Long Will a High Net Worth Divorce Take in DuPage County?
High net worth divorces can take a fairly long time to complete. This is mainly due to the amount of documentation and other paperwork that must be reviewed to determine exactly how much value the property owned by the couple is worth. CPAs and property valuation experts will need to review the numbers and determine asset values. Also, once that value has been established, it is likely the parties will argue over the division of the property.
There are other factors that can affect the duration of a high-asset divorce. Sometimes, accusations or suspicions of hidden assets arise, and that may take some time to investigate and discover. In other cases, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements can help make the process go smoother or hold it up, depending on any challenges to the terms and conditions or overall validity of the contract.
In sum, for a high net worth divorce, you could be looking at a minimum of one year before the divorce is finalized. In some cases, it can take years. A divorce lawyer in Illinois with experience and resources will know what to look for and how to move the divorce along with minimum hiccups. The divorce lawyer you hire can have a real impact on your divorce and your financial interests. Also, the process you select for your divorce can influence how long it will take. Our firm will help you assess and evaluate if you are a candidate for mediation, collaborative divorce, or restorative divorce.
Contact a High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer in DuPage County Today
Couples can spend years accumulating wealth together. When they divorce, the distribution of that wealth can become contentious, making the process harder and longer. At The Law Firm of Erin N Birt PC (Birt Law), our high net worth divorce attorney in Illinois intends to uphold your rights and interests and move the divorce along as smoothly as possible. Contact us today either by using our online form or by calling our office at (630) 891-2478 to schedule a consultation & planning session.