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Divorces With Substantial Assets: What To Look For

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Egalitarian impulses are somewhat offended by stating that divorce is different between those with few assets and those with many, but it is true. Divorce for those with many assets, or with assets of high value, will differ from a standard or low-income divorce for a variety of reasons. It can be advantageous to specifically engage an attorney well versed in high-value divorces, because they will be more likely to be familiar with the potential pitfalls that may await the unwary.

Pre- & Post-Nuptial Agreements

People with significant assets are more likely to execute prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Nevada courts will generally honor these agreements, unless it can be proven that the agreement(s) were executed under duress, were 1) unconscionable as written or 2) that one spouse was not adequately provided enough information or time to make an informed decision. Generally, postnuptial agreements are less common than prenuptial agreements, but both can make material disposition of assets if otherwise compliant with the law.

It is important to note that there are some issues that cannot be dealt with in a pre- or postnuptial agreement. For example, child support may not be addressed in such an agreement, because there is no way to adequately predict what kind of support a child may require before it is even born. Also, the right of support belongs to a child, not to the parent, so in theory, the right is not the parents’ to settle or contract upon.

Active & Passive Assets

When it comes to dividing the assets themselves, high-value items come with different standards than everyday assets like furniture and used cars. Assets can generally be divided into passive and active categories, with passive assets being easier to divide or dispose of than active assets. Passive assets are tangible items of property like a home or an automobile, while active assets are businesses and other ‘living’ entities. Because Nevada is a community property state, passive assets are often sold, with the proceeds divided equally or given a “sale” value for division, but disposing of active assets is much more difficult. A business is not static, and any valuation may become useless days or weeks after its creation, depending on the nature of the business itself.

It is also important during asset division to be aware of potential tax consequences, especially for those with high income brackets. Some assets carry fees – for example, real estate, which may require closing and title fees, among others – that may cause tax confusion, or possibly even overwhelm a person’s ability to pay if they have not planned appropriately for the possibility.

Ask A High-Value Divorce Attorney

Divorce is always difficult, but going into proceedings without a knowledgeable attorney specifically experienced in high-value asset division can wind up costing you significant amounts of money. The attorneys at the Kainen Law Group will put our years of experience to work for you. Contact our office today at 702-823-4900 to set up an initial appointment.

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