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High Asset Divorces Involving a Business

Individuals with significant net worth can take steps to protect their assets during the divorce process. Because high asset divorces can involve everything from business ownership to sizable art collections, it is important to retain an Illinois divorce attorney who has experience guiding individuals through every stage of the divorce.

Defining the Value of a Business

High-asset divorces frequently involve business owners. It is important to determine the actual value of the business and the contributions each partner to the marriage has made to the establishment, operation, and growth of the business. In situations where the business is a private or closely held company, it is crucial to ensure that the proper discount is applied during the divorce. This is because the owner is not likely to have the ability to sell or transfer their interests in the business. As an asset, such businesses should never be counted at their full value during the division of assets.

Stock Options, Retirement Plans, and Investment Accounts

Stock options can be complicated to untangle, and it is common for the courts to consider the vesting schedule and whether the option was awarded for the past, present, or future labors. The court will also consider whether the option was awarded for future performance targets or employment. It is not uncommon for the court to award a greater percentage of stock options to the individual who owns the stock option.

Retirement plans may be considered non-marital or marital depending on when the plan was set up and the contributions each partner has made to the plan. The funds within these plans can be divided through a QDRO without penalty to either party.

Physical Valuables

Many high asset divorces involve the division of valuables whose value will change over time. These include assets such as bullion, jewelry, artwork, collectibles, and property. When dividing these assets, the courts will consider their fair market value at the time of the divorce, not their potential value in the future. As such, it is essential to have each item properly appraised in order to obtain the most equitable division of assets possible.

Maintaining Privacy Throughout the Proceedings

High-asset divorces can garner considerable interest from business competitors and the general public. As such, it is important to retain an Illinois divorce attorney that can help shield sensitive information from public exposure. The attorney can request that many documents e sealed so that only the courts and the parties to the divorce will have access to them.

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