High Asset Divorce Takes Costly Toll On Couples

In New Jersey and across the nation, it can be difficult to go through a divorce with high assets and keep those very assets intact, particularly if a case is contentious. In one recent case, a Jet-Ski, IRA account and additional investments were all sold to pay for the costs of a bitter and drawn-out divorce that spanned five years. In this couple’s case, the time the case spent in divorce court equaled nearly a quarter of the length of their actual marriage.

Some time into the process, the husband claimed he could no longer afford legal representation due to the financial burden the separation had placed on him. When their marriage turned sour, they filed for divorce in 2008 after about 20 years of living together as husband and wife. They were one of nearly 80,000 couples to do so in their home state of Florida that year, a state where no-fault divorces are the rule.

When attorneys file and counter-file motions related to all aspects of their case, the divorce process can easily drag on for years. Back-logged court systems compound the problem, adding months to a case that has already suffered numerous delays. In another high-asset divorce, the marriage lasted for eight years while the divorce process took six years as attorneys battled over property division.

A high-asset divorce can take a costly toll on couples, particularly when emotions run high and influence important decisions instead of a practical and measured response. A family lawyer who focuses on resolving the divorce might be able to help clients negotiate a viable resolution via a mediation process. Sometimes, having a knowledgeable neutral third party evaluate a couple’s case outside of court if possible may substantially reduce the duration of the process and ease some of the distress that can accompany it.

Source: Tampa Bay, “The divorce from hell, the battle for alimony and emptied pockets,” Leonora LaPeter Anton, April 3, 2013