Getting the finances right is important in any divorce settlement, but in cases where there is a lot of money at stake, doing so becomes more complex. When high asset divorce happens in Washington State, the court decides how to divide up marital property in an equitable way — equitable, meaning fair and equal, not necessarily 50/50, and they will also look at what assets should be considered separate property that the other spouse should not hold a legal claim to.
While it is not strictly required, it is highly advisable for spouses to each have their own attorney when they are getting a divorce. An attorney can handle a variety of issues that may come into play in a bigger way when more money is at stake. This can include:
- Go over any prenuptial agreements that were made before the marriage.
- Help to see that their client’s financial affidavit is reported correctly, and that the same is true for their spouse.
- Help see that an appropriate amount of spousal support and/or child support is calculated fairly and correctly.
- See that businesses, accounts, income, property, and debts are assigned the right value.
- Look out for their clients’ best interest, and sometimes the mutual best interest of both spouses when it comes to making tax filing decisions and deciding how to distribute retirement accounts or whether to sell large property in the interest of splitting property.
Keeping Things Honest When Counting Money
Money is a common point of contention in marriage, largely because there are many that are not honest about how much they have and how they spend it. Although hiding assets from a spouse is illegal, it is still very common. The other spouse needs to watch carefully for some common tricks that spouses sometimes have up their sleeves when they are trying to keep a greater portion of the marital assets than they deserve. Some of these “tricks” include:
- Hiding, understating, or undervaluing marital property
- Overstating debts
- Reporting lower than actual income
- Over-reporting expenses
- Putting money away in someone else’s name
At Clement Law Center, with three locations in Washington State, including Bellevue, Seattle, and Federal Way we draw on our 30 years of experience to identify any instances of intentionally hiding assets, as well as help our clients make sure they are fully disclosing all assets they are in possession of, without leaving anything out by mistake that could hurt them in their divorce settlement, or even after the divorce is final. If you are considering divorce, especially a complex high asset divorce, schedule a consultation to let us help you make the right decisions for your financial future.