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Transparency of marital assets in divorce

Florida couples contemplating divorce might know that property division is based on a clear understanding and listing of marital assets. When marital assets are clearly identified and valuated, property division may begin. When the divorcing spouses are high net worth individuals, assets may be greater and harder to find as they are often more complex and not always easily divided.

When assets such as hedge or venture capital funds are involved, the property division process may become complex. Additionally, the spouses may be co-owners of a business. In this case, dividing the shares that each spouse owns may be difficult. The value of a company is not static and changes over time; it might be worth a great deal more in the future or it could go bankrupt. If the couple shares ownership of the business, then selling it when they divorce might not benefit either spouse. A financial adviser could offer an estimation of future worth when considering the asset.

Transparency of marital assets may be a hurdle when high net worth couples are not forthcoming. According to a member of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, looking for hidden assets in obvious places is not always suitable. Rather, she advises, people can evaluate things such as an interest-free loan made to a friend or a large purchase by a relative for which marital assets were used.

Property division is often considered to be a step toward building a new life with a measure of financial assurance. A divorce attorney could offer guidance during asset compilation and the subsequent division. In the case of complex assets, the attorney could enlist the aid of a financial analyst.

Source: Financial Planning, "Finding Hidden Assets: Digging Deep in HNW Divorce", Andrew Pavia, March 24, 2014

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