Divorce can be challenging for anyone, but it is even more arduous and complex for high-net-worth individuals. If you and your spouse own substantial assets, you should know how this will influence your divorce proceedings and how you can protect your financial interests. An experienced Springfield, IL divorce attorney can provide you with detailed guidance and professional support as you navigate your divorce case.
Why Should I Hire an Attorney?
Anyone preparing for divorce should do so under the assumption that their soon-to-be ex-spouse will have their own legal representation. Foregoing legal counsel of your own is not usually wise, especially in a high-net-worth divorce involving substantial assets. Without reliable legal counsel, you could end up agreeing to divorce terms that do not truly serve your interests.
Your Springfield, IL divorce lawyer can guide you in gathering the documentation you need to establish your financial rights and property ownership rights during your divorce proceedings. Your attorney can also coordinate testimony from financial experts who are capable of parsing through complex financial records with ease. The result is your ability to secure your financial interests as your divorce case unfolds.
How to Prepare for High-Net-Worth Divorce in Illinois
There are a few practical issues you must take into consideration in any high-net-worth divorce in Illinois. First, it is vital to assess the potential cost of legal fees for the duration of your divorce case. A high-net-worth divorce involves more complex issues than a standard divorce, so you should prepare to invest time and money into the process. The more property and assets you and your spouse must divide, the more time it will take for your divorce to reach a conclusion.
High-net-worth divorces that involve expensive property and complex investments also have stricter requirements when it comes to the documentation involved in these cases. You should prepare to invest quite a bit of time working with your attorney, gathering the financial statements and other documentation you will need to complete your case.
Financial Discovery in High-Net-Worth Divorce
Divorcing spouses of all economic levels should be prepared to fully disclose all financial records during the divorce process. It is imperative for anyone heading for divorce proceedings to understand how crucial it is to be honest in this disclosure. Leaving out critical information, even accidentally, can have significant repercussions once discovered and may potentially involve criminal penalties. If you are unsure regarding the documentation necessary for your high-net-worth divorce, consult with your Springfield, IL divorce attorney to ensure your financial disclosure is complete and accurate.
Expert Witnesses in High-Net-Worth Divorce Cases
Money can influence people to do dishonest things during a divorce case, including attempts to hide assets to prevent them from being divided. Hiding assets is illegal and can lead to severe financial penalties. However, these risks do not prevent some people from attempting to do so anyway, influencing the potential outcome of their high-net-worth divorce case. Your attorney can coordinate intervention from a financial expert witness, such as a forensic accountant. The forensic accountant can help you trace hidden assets and ensure everything comes to light during your divorce proceedings.
Other expert witnesses such as medical experts, social workers, and counselors could also come into play in some high-net-worth divorce cases. For example, if you need to prove your suitability to receive alimony to accommodate a disability that prevents you from working, an expert in their field can help. An expert witness can provide professional insight to support your position and help you secure a suitable alimony arrangement. Consult with your Springfield, IL divorce attorney if you have concerns that may require the testimony of an expert witness.
Separate Vs. Marital Property in High-Net-Worth Divorce
A vital aspect of any high-net-worth divorce case is differentiating between your own separate property and the marital property that is subject to asset division. You have the right to retain separate property after divorce, but under some conditions, separate property could become marital property. For example, if you purchased a home before your marriage but your spouse financially contributed to renovations that boosted its property value significantly, the court may decide that their contribution has transmuted the home to marital property.
In a high-net-worth divorce case, determining whether certain assets qualify as separate or marital property can be very difficult. The process can consume the bulk of the time both parties will spend on property division determination in a divorce case. In most situations, the assistance of a skilled high-net-worth divorce attorney is crucial to success.
Mediation Vs. Litigation in High-Net-Worth Divorce
Many divorcing couples in the US opt for divorce mediation instead of litigation. The mediation process can transform divorce into a more streamlined experience. However, high-net-worth divorces involve highly complex financial issues that will take a long time to cover, even when both spouses express a desire to negotiate through mediation.
During divorce mediation, you, your soon-to-be-ex, and your respective attorneys will meet with a mediator to privately negotiate the terms of their divorce. In most cases, mediation provides a speedier and more efficient alternative to litigation, but the process will still take quite a long time in a high-net-worth divorce. Additionally, there is a chance that you may need to settle some aspects of the divorce in mediation and then take the remainder of the case into litigation.
Child Custody and Support in High-net-worth Divorce
Divorcing parents who are substantially wealthy must prepare for the Illinois family court to rule on their custody and support agreement. While you can negotiate a parenting plan privately, you cannot reach any legal conclusions on child custody issues during private mediation. The court has a legal duty to ensure that the final decision aligns with the best interests of the children involved.
Ultimately, a high-net-worth divorce presents significant challenges unique to such cases. Experienced legal counsel is the best available resource for anyone preparing for this type of divorce case. Locate an experienced Springfield, IL divorce attorney with a solid record of accomplishment in high-net-worth divorce cases to ensure a positive outcome in your own case.