A divorce decree with money and a gavel resting nearby

How High-Asset Divorce Differs from “Traditional” Divorce

More Than Just the Money

Every divorce has complexities surrounding it, yet the challenges multiply when the divorce involves a high number of assets. The stakes in high-asset divorces can be greater than that of a more “traditional” divorce; those involved in one may have a higher chance of losing important assets, which can push all parties involved to higher levels of tension throughout the process.

However, the differences between “traditional” and high-asset divorces are more than just the amount of money involved. Here are several factors that may play a part in a high-asset divorce.

Higher Probability of a Contested Divorce

While not the case with every divorce, a more “traditional” divorce has a higher chance of being negotiated to a settlement agreement without having to resort to a lengthy court battle. This is typically due to the lesser stakes at hand when compared to a high-asset divorce. High-asset divorces, however, often end up requiring a longer time to complete because of the higher level of conflict present.

The larger number of assets at stake, coupled with other marital issues, often contribute to more tension and less negotiation. It’s normal for each party to try to walk away with as much as they can when the divorce is complete, and this desire may lead to quarrels over property division, adding length to the overall time of the divorce.

Presence of a Prenup

Because of issues that can surround complex property division involved in high-asset cases, it’s more likely that there could be a prenuptial agreement in place with these couples. The prenuptial agreement lays out which property is community property, which is separate, and how each asset is ultimately divided in the divorce. These types of marital agreements can be more common in couples with higher income or larger numbers of assets, although they can be involved in a more “traditional” divorce depending on the circumstances.

Complex Property Up For Grabs

While property division can certainly add tension to any divorce, a high-asset divorce typically involves property of a more complicated nature. It’s more common to find multiple pieces of real estate, large stock portfolios, businesses, and other similar assets in high-asset cases compared to “traditional” ones. With these types of complex properties come greater tension over the higher worth and a greater degree of scrutiny of ensuring property division is equitable.

The Necessity of Accurate Asset Valuation

While it’s important for every asset to be accounted for and valued in any divorce, because of the high stakes in higher asset cases, this necessity is even greater. When signing the asset disclosures and listing out your assets in a high-asset divorce, ensuring they are accurately valued works to ensure that property division is done in a truly equitable manner.

Working with Outside Experts

It may be helpful to work with other experts beyond your high-asset divorce attorney. For example, consider working with an accountant who can calculate the accurate value of your assets. You could also work with a forensic accountant who can investigate the assets of your spouse to determine whether or not they are hiding any assets.

Working with a High-Asset Divorce Attorney

You should not work with just any divorce attorney when dealing with a high-asset case. The complexity surrounding high-asset divorces requires the expertise of an attorney who knows how challenging high-asset cases are and who can navigate the various hurdles involved. Working with an attorney who specializes in high-asset divorce cases can ultimately work to secure a better outcome.


At Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., we are committed to helping our clients navigate this challenging time in their lives and guiding them throughout the process to find the next best step for their lives. If you have questions about high-asset divorce or are ready to get started, call our office at (312) 487-2795 or visit us online.
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