High-Asset Divorces in Arizona

How We Can Help With Your

High-Asset Divorce

A friend of ours moved into a 20-year-old, 10,000 square foot home. After a few months, he commented to us that one of the things he had not anticipated was how many different systems the house would have. He had, for example, four different air conditioners and a half-dozen water heaters. That meant more repairs and maintenance. He said it seemed he had a repairman out every week for one thing or another. He had his dream home, but also a lot more work.

In some ways, the systems you find in a 10,000-square foot house are not different than what you’d find in a 1,500-square foot home: Air conditioner, fridge, water heater, etc. It’s just that you have more of them, and they may be more advanced and complicated than what you find in an average home. The same is true in a high-asset divorce. The average divorce has a home, retirement, and vehicles to divide; the high asset divorce has those same things, just more of them, and they tend to be much more complicated.

A high asset divorce is similar to that. More assets—and assets with more complications—mean more that can go awry. For example, in an average divorce, the marital residence is the only real property the parties own, and the home is in Arizona. But in a high-asset divorce the parties usually own multiple properties, some in Arizona, some located elsewhere. Some properties may be rental or investment property. Some may be vacation or second home properties.

Vehicles are another difference. The average divorce, each party has a vehicle they drive. In a high-asset divorce, that holds true but the parties may also have other vehicles, including boats, RV’s, motorcycles—and they may have rare or classic vehicles that are appreciating rather than depreciating.

High-asset divorces tend to also have businesses that need to be divided. This is usually accomplished by the spouse who runs the business buying out the other spouse’s interest in the business. That will require a business valuation to figure out how much the business is worth. If the business was started prior to the marriage, then they evaluator must also determine how much the value of the business increased during marriage and divide that increase.

Other typical issues in a high-asset divorce include retirement accounts, stock options, 529’s, IRA’s, brokerage, savings, trusts (trust are divided in a divorce if both parties are on it), prenups and postnups, and spousal maintenance.

With so much involved, you can count on a few things: 1. You will need an attorney; 2. Figuring out what assets and liabilities exist and the values of each will be critical, which means you can expect professionals other than attorneys to be involved.

What that means for you is you want to find an attorney who is well-versed in all these financial assets and works well with other attorneys and professionals. You want an attorney who is knowledgeable, well-organized and resolution-focused but who can, if necessary, represent you vigorously in Court.

An attorney who is not familiar with the kind of assets at stake or who is disorganized or wants to fight over every issue will cost you significant money.

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