Divorce can be complicated, especially when it is a high-asset divorce, like those where the couple runs a business together. Here, financial assets are part of property division. This includes brokerage accounts, other investments (including holdings in LLC’s, Subchapter S Corporations, PTPs and REITs), and even houses and other investment real estate. However, this requires an understanding of what qualifies as marital property, which belongs to both spouses, and separate property, which belongs to one spouse.
Marital property is property that is attained or acquired during the tenure of the marriage. Alternatively, separate property is that property that is acquired prior to marriage. This also includes inheritances and gifts received during the marriage.
This does not mean that separate property cannot become marital property in a divorce. If the inheritance of one spouse is deposited into a joint bank account, which is in both spouses’ names, this may make that inheritance joint property.
In Illinois, the judge will then divide marital assets based on the equitable distribution model. This means the court is not looking for an even split. Instead, the court is seeking to divide marital assets fairly.
The court factors in contributions from each spouse that will decrease or increase the property’s value. Misconduct does not factor into this calculus. The economic resources, like the pay level of each spouse is factored, along with the health and age of both spouses. Of course, the skills of both spouses are also factored.
As readers can see, a high-asset divorce means a forensic divorce, which means attaining an attorney that has experience with forensic accounting. Getting attorneys that have this type of experience can some divorcee’s money as they only need to hire one person, instead of a team of professionals.