High Asset Divorce

Table of Contents

High Asset Divorces Require Skill

Substantial and diverse assets add immense complexities to property division. An interest in a business—or several—can be especially difficult to value. So can real estate assets, investment accounts, family trusts, retirement, and stock options or awards.

The first step is to identify all assets. Next, legally sort those assets into either community property or separate property. Then value them all. This helps you establish the basic framework for a fair property division.

Our valuation experts help value complicated assets like businesses, especially if you stated one before you got married. For a business, a settlement could involve a buy-out, payouts over time, or one party could be awarded the business while the other is awarded an asset of equivalent value.

Real estate for high-asset individuals could range from a vacation home to rental properties to commercial land. Analyzing an appropriate division involves detailed analysis. Did you invest in property before you got married? Did a family member gift the down payment? If real estate generates cash flow, that needs to be taken into consideration too.

In Seattle, our booming tech scene means stock options. These are up for division too. Courts here are often faced with figuring out a fair way to divide stock awards. Stock options can be deemed separate or community depending on when and why you received it.

At DuBois Levias, we have extensive experience helping high net worth individuals throughout the Seattle area with divorce and complex property division. We’ve negotiated and tried many high asset cases in King County and the greater Puget Sound area. We specialize in complex financial analysis—with forensic accountants, business valuation experts, and other financial professionals on call.

Case Concerns: Community vs. Separate Property

One of the biggest mistakes people make during marriage is commingling their separate assets with marital assets. If you are unable to prove that a particular asset is separate, it’s possible that your spouse will end up with half of it. The burden of proof for separate property is on you. Prevailing on these claims almost always requires a lawyer who has experience in proving separate assets—and who has relationships with forensic CPAs experienced in tracing assets.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.