In most high-asset divorces, the division of the marital assets (and debts) is second in importance only to the custody arrangements for any minor children that the couple share. It is certainly true that the more assets a couple shares, the more challenging it will be to achieve parity in the property settlement.
Often, when there are art collections or other collectible items to which it can be hard to assign true value, it is necessary to retain a disinterested third party to valuate the marital property. Below are some things to keep in mind regarding the division of assets and debts in divorce.
Choose the most lucrative valuation date
Different states set their valuation dates at various times. Here in Virginia, the date should be set as close as is possible to the date for the evidentiary hearing. Some assets are relatively stable in value. Others may be subject to the roller-coaster ride of a volatile stock market or a housing glut.
If at all possible, try to work with your soon-to-be ex-spouse so that each of you receives the maximum value for your assets.
Marital debt can be used as leverage
If you want to walk away from the marriage with a larger percentage of specific valuable assets, e.g., the family home, beach cottage or the retirement accounts, you may achieve parity by agreeing to take on a larger share of the marital debts.
Trust the advice of your divorce advisers
Those whom you retain to advise and lead you through the divorce process should be thoroughly trustworthy individuals whom you know have only your interests at heart. That means that the financial adviser you shared with your ex should be replaced by someone unaffiliated with your former spouse. Your family law attorney may also have some excellent recommendations to offer.