Your marriage is ending and you know that divorce is inevitable. As a high asset couple, many people may assume that you'll be just fine financially. However, high net worth divorces are typically far more complex than other dissolutions, and the wrong approach can result in a costly settlement.
Illinois Maintenance Criteria
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act sets a standard for determination of spousal support. It directs the court to first look at various criteria to determine whether alimony is appropriate. These factors include the following:
- The income earned by each spouse
- Current and future earning capacity for each spouse, and the impact marital obligations may have had on this capacity
- Length of marriage
- Each spouse's assets
- Unique needs of each person
- Standard of living set during the marriage
- Health and age of each spouse
Once the determination is made to order spousal support, the judge then moves on to how much and for how long.
Determining Spousal Support Amounts and Duration
Sec. 504 of the state's divorce law addresses maintenance, but the formula it uses to determine the amount only applies to couples whose combined gross income is less than $250,000. For high net worth couples, this limit excludes them from these mathematical support calculations.
This means if you're a divorcing high asset couple, determination of spousal support could fall to the discretion of a judge. If you and your spouse are simply unable to negotiate on this issue, this may be inevitable. But, it's in your best interests to come to an agreement that works for you both. Leaving this crucial decision to the courts is unpredictable and can have an alarming outcome.
The Assistance of Skilled Counsel
A seasoned Illinois lawyer with experience in high net worth divorces can be an invaluable ally at this difficult time. She can look at your specific situation to understand the best approach for your needs. She can weigh the benefits of a lump property settlement versus ongoing maintenance, and fight on your behalf to obtain a fair maintenance amount.
A skilled attorney reaches out to experts to investigate the marital finances, all potential tax consequences, and long-term financial expenditures and needs. When you and your spouse own a business, this further complicates the division of your substantial assets. You need a professional who can perform accurate business valuations, and who understands all the complex laws and issues governing the division of these assets.
And finally, you need legal counsel who understands the emotional upheaval you are dealing with as you face this life-changing event. You may be part of a small financial empire, but you are much more than your net worth. Your emotional and psychological well-being is paramount as you work through this challenging life event.