While the marital asset division process in an Illinois divorce is fundamentally the same for everyone, couples or individuals with a high net worth have special considerations. Because high net worth assets are often complex, unique, or otherwise difficult to value, it is important to have the knowledge and assistance of a qualified Illinois divorce attorney and other financial professionals to help you throughout this process.
Are We Considered High Net Worth?
A person or couple’s “net worth” is the value of the assets they own, minus any debts or liabilities. The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is a governmental agency with the responsibility of ensuring fair market practices in the United States and the SEC defines a couple as being high net worth if their net worth exceeds one million dollars. A couple must also make over $300,000 a year in combined income.
Couples who have been working for many years may be surprised to find that they fall into the high net worth category, especially because this level of assets and income does not necessarily allow for a lavish lifestyle. Nevertheless, if you meet this threshold for high net worth, treat your divorce accordingly.
Which Assets Must Be Valued and Divided?
Any assets, including cash savings and pensions, that were acquired during the marriage are considered marital property and are subject to division. Over many years, high net worth couples have often acquired collections or assets they may not realize need to be divided: Jewelry, baseball cards, coins, and valuable furniture like a piano can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, and must all be valued if spouses cannot agree about how to allocate them.
For this reason, mediation can be a great resource for couples who wish to save time and money in the asset division process. If one party is particularly attached to a valuable piano and the other party is not, then perhaps one spouse keeps the piano while the other spouse keeps their entire coin collection. In rare instances where couples cannot achieve mediation successfully then the case may proceed to litigation, where couples have substantially less control over the outcome.
How Are Assets Valued and Divided?
The valuation and division process will be unique to the particular asset, but it is not unusual for outside experts to assist couples with this process. Individuals who specialize in selling antiques, coins, vehicles, or anything else will assess the value of the item in the marketplace. Generally, if these assets must be divided, they will be sold and the proceeds split between spouses.
Family businesses are often part of high net worth divorces, and these must be valued as well. Business valuation experts such as forensic accountants have several methods they can use to value a business, and which method they choose will depend on the type of business.
Because some assets, such as pensions and investment accounts, continue to grow even during divorce proceedings, spouses or the court will set a date, and on that date, the value of the asset will be declared. Once the value is declared, the value stays the same for the remainder of the divorce proceedings.
Consult with a DuPage County High Net Worth Divorce Attorney
The highly experienced Wheaton, IL divorce attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help you navigate your divorce with skill and strategic planning. We will help you understand your options and will advocate passionately for your interests to ensure you receive an equitable share of your marital assets. Call us today to schedule a confidential consultation at 630-871-1002.