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Michigan Family Law Blog

Monday, April 5, 2021

Three Tips for a High Net Worth Divorce

People going through a high net worth divorce need to think about all the usual divorce issues as well as additional things that can be unique to this type of case. A Michigan divorce attorney can develop a strategy and advocate for you in a high net worth divorce.

Here are three categories of tips for a nigh net worth divorce, depending on whether:

  • You are the higher-asset spouse.
  • You are the lower-asset spouse.
  • Both spouses have a high net worth.

These suggestions are for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. You should always talk with a lawyer to obtain legal advice for your case.

Tips for the Higher Asset Spouse

You need to protect your assets and minimize the amount of spousal support you might have to pay. If you have a prenuptial agreement, also called an antenuptial agreement, you should prepare to defend the validity of the document.

If you did not enter into a prenuptial agreement before getting married, you might want to consider getting a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement is just like a prenuptial agreement, except you enter into this agreement after getting married. The risk of asking your spouse to sign a postnuptial agreement is that doing so will make them suspect that you are contemplating divorce.

Avoid the temptation to hide assets and block your spouse from bank accounts and credit cards. Judges dislike it when people engage in that kind of conduct during divorce, and often they punish the spouse who does those things. You should talk with your lawyer and develop a plan for how to protect your assets without running afoul of the law.

Tactics for the Lower Asset Spouse

Your focus should be on financial security. If you and your spouse entered into a prenuptial agreement and you think the terms are unfair now, you will want to talk with your divorce lawyer about the possibility of busting the agreement. The most common reasons that judges invalidate prenuptial agreements are:

  • The parties did not make full disclosure of their assets and debts and attach the lists to the prenuptial agreement.
  • One party did not have a lawyer or relied on the other spouse’s attorney for legal advice. Each party should have a separate attorney.
  • If the prenuptial agreement got signed within days of the wedding or the person whose attorney prepared the document refused to compromise on any of the terms, the judge might find the agreement unenforceable. Each person should have sufficient time to review and think about the implications of the paper before signing it without the emotions of a wedding right around the corner. If one party has a “take it or leave it” attitude about the prenuptial agreement, the judge might question the possibility of unequal bargaining power.

You might also talk with your lawyer about the risk that your spouse will try to close bank accounts or remove your name from credit cards. Getting stuck at the grocery store or gas pump with no way to pay for your purchases can be humiliating.

Strategies to Consider When Both Spouses Have High Net Worth

When both spouses have a high net worth, they should consider a property distribution that does not divide every asset in half. Often, it makes more financial sense to keep the property intact and offset one item with another. In this situation, the attorneys might want to obtain professional appraisals and business valuations before formulating a plan of distribution.

In any of these situations, a Michigan divorce attorney can answer your questions and protect your rights. Contact our office today.


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