High Asset Divorces: Strategies for Protecting Your Assets

Jeremy AtwoodDivorce

Breaking up is hard to do, and when you’re dealing with a high-asset divorce, it can feel like navigating a financial minefield. A high-net-worth divorce typically involves significant holdings, like closely held business interests, real estate partnerships, stock options, deferred compensation, and so on.

High-asset divorce cases in Utah can be complex. With more assets to divide, both parties have far more to gain- and potentially lose. If you’re living in Layton, your best bet would be to work with a divorce attorney in Layton, UT to understand your circumstances better.  

When fortunes are on the line, emotions run high, and the stakes get even higher. In this blog, we’ll share some savvy strategies to help you protect your assets in a high-net-worth divorce.  

1. Identify All Assets

The first step in preparing for a high-asset divorce is to list your assets. It’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of your financial situation to ensure fair property division in Utah.  

Your assets can include:  

  • Personal property, such as cars, jewelry, and artwork  
  • Bank accounts  
  • Real estate  
  • Business interests  
  • Retirement accounts  
  • Stock options  
  • Intellectual property  

Now, let’s talk about marital property and separate property.  

Marital property refers to assets/debts acquired by a couple during their marriage. It is typically jointly owned by both spouses, regardless of which spouse purchased it.  

On the other hand, separate property, also known as non-marital or individual property, involves assets and debts that belong to one specific spouse and are generally not subject to division during divorce cases in Utah.

Once you’ve identified your assets, assess their value. Be thorough and realistic. This is not the time for wishful thinking. Hire professionals if needed—financial advisors and appraisers can provide a clear picture of what each asset is truly worth.  

The more assets you have, the harder it will be to account for all of them. By listing all your assets, you can determine which ones are most significant to you, and which ones you can forfeit to settle. 

2. Negotiate Effectively

Negotiation is an art, especially in high-asset divorces. It’s not just about getting what you want, but also about giving up strategically.   

Pick your battles wisely. Approach the negotiation table with a clear understanding of your priorities and goals. What assets are non-negotiable for you? Where can you afford to compromise?  

It’s essential to maintain open communication with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Negotiation is a two-way street, and finding common ground can pave the way for a smoother process. Consider mediation or collaborative divorce processes to keep the power in your hands, rather than leaving it to a judge who might not fully grasp the nuances of your finances. 

3. Work with a Mediator

Speaking of mediation, having a neutral third party can work wonders. A mediator helps facilitate communication between you and your ex, guiding the conversation toward productive solutions.   

Mediation is often more amicable and less adversarial than a courtroom battle, reducing stress and legal fees. With mediation, you maintain more control over the outcome and save time, money, and emotional energy in the process. Plus, it allows for creative solutions tailored to your unique situation. It’s a win-win for everyone.  

4. Consult an Accountant

You might be tempted to make impulsive financial decisions just to get the divorce over with. We recommend you resist that urge. Making hasty financial agreements without proper consideration can have long-lasting consequences.  

High-asset divorces often include complicated assets. Now, you may want to acquire as many of them as quickly as possible, but it’s important to consider the tax benefits involved. Working with an accountant, in combination with a divorce lawyer in Utah, can provide deeper insight into how ownership of certain assets could impact you financially.  

Always consult with financial professionals and legal experts before signing the dotted line. A financial planner can help you understand the implications of different settlement options, so you can make informed decisions that align with your long-term goals.  

5. Plan for the Future

Many people going through a high-asset divorce fail to plan for the future. It’s easy to get so caught up in the divorce proceedings that you lose sight of what comes next. However, you must anticipate the changes and plan accordingly to secure your lifestyle.  

A few factors to consider include:  

  • Cost of living: You’ll likely be transitioning from a dual-income to a single-income household post-divorce. Needless to say, this can drastically affect your financial situation. Factor in the cost of living independently, such as housing, utilities, healthcare, groceries, and other day-to-day expenses.  
  • Retirement Planning: If your retirement plans were based on your combined household income, you’ll need to reassess and adjust your strategies.  
  • Estate Planning: Additionally, you may have to update your will, power of attorney, trust, and beneficiaries on insurance policies.  
  • Rebuilding Credit: In case most accounts were in your spouse’s name, you’ll need to establish credit in your name.  

A post-divorce financial plan can help alleviate some of the financial stress of your divorce. Planning for the future can also give you the peace of mind and confidence to start the next chapter of your life on a strong footing.  

6. Hire a Divorce Attorney with Experience in High Asset Divorces  

Your choice of divorce attorney in Layton, UT can make or break your case. Look for a lawyer with a proven track record in handling complex high-asset divorces. They should have a clear understanding of asset valuation, tax implications, and property division.   

A skilled divorce lawyer in Utah will fight for your best interests every step of the way. They’ll also help you navigate the legal landscape, ensuring you don’t miss any crucial details that could impact your case.  

7. Keep Court Filings Private

High-asset divorce cases often come with added media attention. To maintain your privacy and protect sensitive financial information, explore options to keep court filings sealed. Your personal matters should stay just that – personal. Consult with your attorney on strategies to minimize public exposure and keep your financial details out of the spotlight.  

The Bottom Line 

In conclusion, navigating a high-asset divorce requires a combination of strategy, negotiation skills, and a level head. Take these proactive steps to emerge from the process with your assets intact and your sanity preserved. Remember, divorce is a chapter of your life, not the entire story.  

Safeguard your wealth in a high-net-worth divorce! Jeremy Atwood Law’s experienced divorce lawyers in Layton, Utah can help protect your assets. Contact us to schedule your consultation and take the first step toward securing your financial well-being.