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While every divorce is different, certain types of divorces are notorious for being particularly complex. This is true for those involved in a high asset divorce, which come with a host of complicated and unique issues. To ensure that your own divorce goes as smoothly as possible, it is important to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who is well-versed in these issues and can ensure that your rights and interests are protected.
While it is necessary for all couples going through a divorce to divide up their marital property, those who own unique, diverse, or high-value assets often face difficulties when doing so. Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means that all of a couple’s marital property, or assets that were acquired by either spouse after the marriage took place, must be divided in an equitable and fair manner upon divorce. For this reason, many spouses will go to great lengths to hide the source of an asset, or may even falsely claim outright that an asset was purchased prior to the marriage.
Hiding assets during the divorce process is strictly prohibited under Michigan law, and parties who are found to have done so face sanctions from the court and potential relinquishment of the asset altogether. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a spouse to get away with hiding an asset, especially if he or she had primary control of the couple’s finances during the marriage. For this reason, it is particularly important for couples who have filed for divorce to conduct a thorough analysis of their financial holdings and to keep an eye out for large transfers from bank accounts, expensive gifts to family members, and evidence that assets are being purposely wasted. Retaining a financial expert, such as a forensic accountant, business valuation expert, or residential property appraiser is often critical to ensure that one party is not committing fraud.
One of the most difficult aspects of high asset divorces is ensuring that assets are properly valued. While it may be relatively simple to discover the value of the family vehicle or a couple’s investment or retirement accounts, it can be extremely difficult to place a value on more unique assets, such as antiques, memorabilia, furniture, stocks, or the future earnings of a family-owned business. Deciding the date on which property should be valued is part of what makes this process so difficult. For instance, some courts use the date of the divorce trial when determining value, while others use the date of distribution of the asset. In either case, it is often necessary for the parties to obtain multiple evaluations to ensure that their assets are properly valued and divided.
If you are going through a divorce and own diverse, unique, or high-value assets, you may need to grapple with a series of complex issues during the property division process. Please contact Iafrate & Salassa at (586) 263-1600 to learn more about your legal options.