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Dividing marital property in a high-asset divorce

As many Missouri residents may know, divorce nowadays can happen at any stage in life. Increasing numbers of older couples are now divorcing after many years of marriage, with at least one or both spouses 50 years of age or older. This national shift in divorce demographics now means that one in every four divorces involves older couples, a number that is twice what it was in the 1980s.

Divorce for older people is often more complicated because they have acquired substantial assets in their years together. Assigning a value to all the marital property can be daunting, especially with complex portfolios of assets such as real estate, retirement plans, stocks and other investments. Although a prenuptial agreement can save a couple from the headaches of a high-net worth divorce, not all couples sign these documents prior to marriage.

Divorce is rarely easy. The process stirs up and exaggerates a lot of emotions and increases the chance that a dispute will occur if there is any financial stress. The spouses may consider drafting a postnuptial agreement before and in case the marriage turns sour. But, because these documents are built on trust, each spouse should fully disclose and be informed about all assets.

Communicating with a soon-to-be former spouse is essential for developing a realistic financial future after divorce. Because one party may feel that the complex asset division is unfair, negotiations may be needed sometime during the process. This type of communication can be an important part of moving on after the process is completed.

Source: E Missourian, "How to Ensure Divorce Won't Wipe You Out Financially," Oct. 7, 2013

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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