For Michigan couples with substantial assets, the concept of divorce can lead to fear about their financial future. This can impact people regardless of their financial situation, but it is especially worrisome for those who have vast assets. Alimony (also referred to as maintenance) from one spouse to the other is designed to ensure the recipient maintains the same lifestyle they had during the marriage. However, there may be disagreements as to what would constitute a fair amount. Before letting emotions get in the way and saying or doing things that will make the relationship worse, it is important to have a firm underpinning for the argument. That means having professional guidance.
High-asset divorce cases have their own unique qualities
The paying spouse and the receiving spouse will likely have their own interpretation as to how much should be paid. The law states that the alimony must be “suitable.” How that is analyzed can vary. If, for example, a husband was an executive with a large company or a business owner and had a large income to support a wealthy lifestyle, there is a reasonable expectation on the wife’s part that she will maintain that after the divorce. Since a lower-earning spouse or a homemaker – male or female – will have contributed greatly to the other spouse’s success, it is fair to think there should be a sufficient award of alimony so they can continue the same daily routines as they had during the marriage.
Retirement assets also accrue during a high net worth marriage. A recent survey discussed this with women who were facing divorce and needed to think about pensions, 401(k) plans and other retirement accounts. Twenty-one women between the ages of 35 and 64 took part in interviews about their finances and retirement. If their spouse was the main earner, they tended to be unsure of their place in the world and not know how they would move forward. The retirement accounts and other financial details were relatively foreign to them. Based on the study, people are advised to keep track of the basics of their family finances; understand the value of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO); and be prepared with facts as to what they are entitled to.
Professional help can only benefit people with alimony in high-asset cases
The divorce does not even need to be contentious to have finances emerge as an obstacle. A problem that frequently arises in high-asset divorce cases is that the participants do not have the comprehensive guidance to navigate the complexities that will inevitably come up. This is true from both the perspective of the breadwinner and the spouse who did not earn as much. Consulting with professionals who understand how to handle alimony, property distribution and other issues in this type of divorce can be essential to forging effective solutions.