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Understanding High Net-Worth Divorces in Minnesota

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Every divorce brings its own challenges, but dissolving a marriage involving high assets can be particularly complex. If you and your spouse shared many investments, properties, or other assets, your divorce likely qualifies as “high-asset.” A Minneapolis divorce attorney at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., will use the strategies and means necessary to defend your assets and advocate for a fair divorce settlement.

Even under the best circumstances, divorce is a stressful process. However, when a high level of assets is involved, the complications can be overwhelming. Navigating a high net worth divorce means you have more to divide and much to lose. Working with a skilled attorney experienced in these types of cases is critical. 

If you’re facing a divorce in Minnesota involving substantial assets, a high-net-worth divorce attorney can address such things as the tracing of assets, complex taxation, and future support obligations. 

At Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., our family law attorneys understand the complexities of these matters. We are experienced in asserting our clients’ rights while treating the situation with the delicacy and care it deserves. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

What Is a High-Net-Worth Divorce?

A high-net-worth divorce involves a couple with high-value and complex assets. These might include a million dollars or more in liquid or invested assets, substantial real estate holdings, businesses, and other illiquid assets. Or a high-net-worth divorce may involve a situation where one spouse makes considerably more than the other. The outcomes of these divorces can have significant tax consequences and affect your family for generations to come.

Why Can High Net Worth Divorces Be Complicated?

Couples might have high assets and pursue divorce for a variety of reasons. High-paid and high-stress jobs are just one. Doctors, for example, have a divorce rate of around 24 percent, which is higher than similar professions but lower than the overall population.

No matter your occupation or situation, you deserve a level playing field when approaching a divorce involving significant assets. However, achieving a fair result can be challenging without the right approach because high-net-worth divorces involve several complexities.

Types of Assets

The types of assets you’ll encounter in a high-net-worth divorce are generally more complex than in a regular divorce. For example, in a regular divorce, a couple might need to divide assets like a family home, several vehicles, and a retirement fund. 

In a high-asset divorce, the level of complexity with assets is much higher. In addition to the items you’ll find in a regular divorce, couples often have assets like vacation homes, business interests, multiple investment accounts, artwork, jewelry, intellectual property, and more.

Asset Identification

A high-asset divorce usually has substantial property to review and categorize. Determining how to classify marital property versus separate property can also be an emotionally charged subject.

Generally, marital property gets divided during a divorce, while personal property stays with the spouse who owns it. Marital property includes all assets acquired during the marriage. However, If certain property belonged to a single spouse and was kept separate from the joint property, it may be considered personal property not subject to asset division.

Personal property may include the following:

  • Assets a spouse owned before the marriage as long as they were always kept separate
  • An inheritance or gift to one spouse during the marriage
  • The portion of retirement assets each spouse accumulated before the marriage, along with the market growth on those assets
  • Any proceeds of a personal injury lawsuit

Asset Valuation

One of the most contentious parts of a high-asset divorce is determining who ends up with what. According to Minnesota law, a baseline for the division of marital property is an even split. However, the court could deviate from this standard if there is proof of certain activities, such as concealing, disposing of, or transferring assets. 

How those assets are valued can also be a complex matter. You or your spouse might have certain ideas about the value of real estate, a business, or other assets. With a high net worth divorce, experts like appraisers and forensic accountants must determine the value of investments.

Tax Considerations

High-asset divorces often involve complex tax issues. For example, dividing retirement accounts will likely have tax implications. Similarly, selling off assets like real estate to divide wealth could result in significant capital gains tax bills. Understanding and planning for these potential issues is vital to protecting your interests in a high-value divorce.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is another essential consideration in high-net-worth divorces. The purpose of alimony is to financially support the spouse who is economically disadvantaged due to the divorce.

In a high-asset divorce, there is the potential for significant income disparities between spouses, which makes alimony a significant issue. The court will consider the capacity of each spouse to generate income and their need for support to maintain a lifestyle similar to that enjoyed during the marriage.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

When one or both spouses enter a marriage with significant assets or expect a disparity down the road, they might sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that protects their interests should the marriage later end in divorce.

If an agreement exists, your attorney can review it thoroughly and determine whether it is enforceable. Some factors that can make a prenuptial agreement unenforceable include duress, fraud, or clauses that don’t apply to your situation.

Why Is It Important To Hire a Divorce Lawyer in a High Net-Worth Divorce?

Minnesota is a ”no-fault” divorce state, meaning a spouse can seek a divorce by claiming irreconcilable differences or that the marriage is irretrievably broken. A spouse does not need to prove the fault or the other to get a divorce.

Minnesota is also an “equitable distribution” state, meaning courts will divide assets in a way they deem fair and equitable, not necessarily a 50/50 split.  However, proof of certain misconduct could lead the court to deviate from this practice and award one spouse a larger percentage of the assets. For instance, if one spouse transferred, concealed, disposed of, or encumbered assets without the other’s consent, a court may consider such activities in divvying up the property.

The mistake even some high-asset couples make is thinking they can save money and time by not working with a lawyer. While tempting, this approach will likely cost you even more resources and add to your frustration.

Working with an attorney familiar with the complexities and intricacies of a high-net-worth divorce ensures you have a professional on your side. Your lawyer will experience handling issues like property division, spousal support, and child custody and support efficiently and effectively.

Minnesota requires all divorcing parties to participate in an alternative dispute resolution process in contested divorces. Milavetz Injury Law’s attorneys are skilled family lawyers with deep experience handling divorce mediation for high-net-worth individuals. They will ensure you receive fair treatment without pressure to agree to unreasonable demands.

Contact the Minneapolis Divorce Lawyers at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A.

If you are considering ending your marriage in Minnesota and believe it will qualify as a high-asset divorce, contact a skilled and knowledgeable Minneapolis divorce lawyer who can provide the sound legal guidance you need.

The trusted lawyers at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., are experienced in helping high-net-worth individuals with both contested and uncontested divorce proceedings in Minnesota. We understand this state’s laws and procedures and can answer your questions and guide your case to a positive conclusion.

Contact us to schedule a free, confidential consultation with our Minnesota high-net-worth divorce attorney today.

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