Divorce is usually emotionally and financially complex, and the process is stressful for everyone involved. In a high asset divorce, things become even more complicated.
Property division is part of every divorce. Virginia, like many states, follows an equitable distribution model of property division. This means that a court divides marital property fairly between the spouses.
As you can imagine, this is much harder to do when you have a high amount of property to divide.
Marital and separate property
The first step in property division is identifying all marital property. Generally, marital property is all property purchased by you and your spouse during your marriage.
Separate property is property owned by one spouse before marriage. It is also gifts or inheritances. However, separate property can potentially become marital property if it has been mixed with marital property.
Valuing marital property
Once property has been classified as marital or separate property, it must be valued. Obtaining an accurate marital property value can be a bigger priority in a high asset divorce, since there is so much more at stake financially.
It is common for outside professionals to be brought into high asset divorces to perform appraisals of marital property. You and your spouse could agree on using one appraiser, or you could each hire your own appraisers.
An outside professional can also be helpful for locating hidden or missing marital assets, which are sometimes more common in high asset divorces. It is never a good idea to try to hide or conceal marital assets, in the hopes that you can secretly walk away with more than your fair share of marital property.
Not only could a professional uncover the hidden assets, divorce judges often penalize spouses who try to hide assets. You could end up with less than your fair share.
High asset divorces are sometimes more likely to end up in litigation because there is so much more to lose. An attorney experienced with high asset divorce can help you explore your options.