High Net Worth Divorce

Updated on January 11, 2021
Updated: October 5, 2023

High net worth divorces present special problems and challenges, especially in property division matters. At Tommalieh Law, our divorce attorneys are extensively experienced in handling high-asset and high-income divorces. We have dealt extensively with complex property division matters as well as asset protection and uncovering hidden assets. As experienced negotiators and litigators, we will advocate for your interests inside and outside of the courtroom.

Why Are High Net Worth Divorces More Complex?

When a substantial marital estate is involved, the property division and divorce process become complex, with disputes arising at every stage. Most high net worth individuals have significant marital estates, which include business interests, real estate holding, complex trusts, international assets, retirement accounts, and investments. These high net worth assets complicate divorce proceedings, making property division a headache for everyone involved. 

When it comes to marital property division, Illinois is an equitable division state. Courts consider several factors, including employability, health, age, occupation, and income sources of each party when determining how the assets and property can be distributed equitably. According to Illinois law, marital property must be divided fairly and equitably, which means property division doesn’t have to be equal. 

Many factors that make high net worth divorces more complex, these include:

  • Determining the nature of assets. One of the most difficult tasks in high net worth divorces is identifying assets. For example, assets that one spouse may have acquired before the marriage are considered separate property. However, if the assets appreciate during the marriage, they may be considered as marital property and are subject to division. 
  • Complex matters relating to assets. Many asset-related issues are involved, which can make high net worth divorces complex. Typically, spouses have multiple properties and interests in businesses. Property division can affect businesses significantly, which can change the owner’s attitude towards concentration, productivity, and risk. Also, when an ex-spouse gets a share of the business, this can have a direct impact on business operations. 
  • Forensic accounting. In most cases, spouses try to hide their assets, so they aren’t divided during the divorce. Forensic accounting tracks down hidden assets and determines the actual total value of the financial holding of both spouses. Also, an accountant can label accurately which property is separate or marital.
  • International matters. Often, high net worth divorces involve complexities, especially when one spouse has investments or properties in another country. This may also involve tax implications that require the legal counsel of an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of international issues and out-of-country high net worth assets.
  • Tax matters. High net worth divorces are associated with complex tax issues. Mostly, tax issues are related to business entities, benefit plans, real estate, and spousal support. 

If you’re going through a high net worth divorce, it’s imperative to work with a high net worth divorce attorney who can help you through the complexities and issues pertaining to the process.

high net worth divorce

Who Gets the House in a Divorce in Illinois?

After a divorce, it’s common to feel overwhelmed and uncertain. Will I have to pay spousal support? Who will get custody of the children? Who gets to keep the family house? 

During this challenging process, it’s essential to stay grounded and educated about how the divorce process works. Many factors determine which spouse gets to keep the family house after a divorce; if either party keeps it all. Sometimes, the coupe is required to sell the house and split the proceeds. 

The Family House as Marital Property

The most important factor that determines who gets the house following a divorce during property division is whether the house is considered to be marital property. Typically, marital property is any property that was bought or developed during the marriage. If you and your spouse bought the house after marrying, then your house is marital property. Similarly, if either party owned the house before marriage but the other spouse made mortgage payments or significantly contributed to the house’s value through improvement projects after marriage, then the house may be considered marital property.

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means marital property isn’t necessarily split 50/50 following a divorce. Instead, it’s divided between the parties according to each spouse’s contribution to the property during the marriage and their needs after the divorce.

The primary factor that determines which spouse keeps the family home is which spouse has primary custody of the couple’s children. If the judge determines it’s in the children’s best interest to remain in the home and, by extension, their school district, the court may award the family home to the parent with whom the children spend more or all of the time. Often, this award is temporary, and the couple is to sell the house once the children turn 18.

Even though a spouse is awarded the house, the court may require them to buy out their former spouse’s interests in the house. Sometimes, the higher-earning spouse may be ordered to continue paying for the home’s mortgage or insurance as part of a support arrangement. Either of these scenarios may be a possibility in your case, depending on your current economic circumstances and your divorce details.

How Much Does Divorce Cost in Illinois?

High net worth divorces take longer and cost more. If one or both parties earn a large income, typically, they will have many assets of significant value than the average couples. This can cause problems during the divorce process, and there may be more disputes during the asset division. These disputes may prolong the negotiation process, which ultimately leads to more lawyer’s fees or court costs if the case goes to trial.

How Our Divorce Attorneys Can Help You?

Our team of dedicated divorce attorneys has experienced in all issues relating to high net worth divorces. We will work hard to make sure you and your children can maintain your current lifestyle. Also, we will protect your privacy during the divorce process. Our divorce attorneys will work with experts to assess and value all of your marital assets. 

Asset protection is another major concern for many clients going through a high net worth divorce. We don’t believe that you should spend all your money to protect your assets. We will guide you with your best interests in mind in all aspects of your divorce, including limiting the incurring of legal fees. Using smart tactics, you can protect your assets for your family’s future, instead of wasting them on futile legal maneuvers.

Some of our high net worth divorce clients have a good reason to worry about their privacy as they go through a divorce. Our divorce attorneys are sensitive to privacy issues for our clients. With private, non-litigated pretrial solutions, you can keep the private details of your divorce away from the media. 

Every client has unique priorities in a divorce. We have extensive experience to help you achieve your goals whatever they might be. For example, the owner of a corporation or their spouse may be interested in retirement accounts. It takes experience to understand complex aspects of retirement accounts, including differences between qualified and non-qualified compensation. Our high asset divorce attorneys are familiar with qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs, 401 (k) retirement rules, commissions, stocks versus stock options, bonuses, deferred compensation, retention bonuses, separation packages, and other financial matters of importance to high net worth divorce clients, especially those ending long-term marriages. 

Contact Tommalieh Law Today!

A family law lawyer in Orland Park can help you with your high net worth divorce case. We are experienced negotiators and litigators who will work hard to defend your worth. With decades of experience in high asset divorce cases, we can offer unparalleled legal protection to help you get the most positive outcome. Our goal is to help you turn your objectives into reality and be able to sustain your living standard once your divorce is final. Our family law team will work tirelessly to keep your case out of the media so that you can have the privacy you deserve.

Contact us today at (708) 232-0017, or chat with us online for a free initial consultation. If you’re ready to move forward in defending your rights and assets, let us help you. Don’t wait! Contact us today!

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