Special Considerations in High-Net Worth Divorces

While any divorce has the potential to become complicated, high-net worth divorceshave more potential for complications than most other types of cases. Because the assets and property of high-net worth couples are often more diverse and the financial stakes are so much higher, a divorce needs to be approached differently.

Protecting Assets

Illinois law has a broad definition of what is marital property. Everything either spouse acquired during the course of the marriage is considered marital property and is subject to division by the court, with a few exceptions. The problem is that some assets may completely lose their value if divided, or if the wrong spouse takes possession. Items such as closely held businesses are one example.

It is often better for the two sides to come up with creative solutions to the issue of property division to make sure the value of assets is maintained and each side can walk away with a fair settlement. Experts such as forensic accountants and business valuation professionals will usually need to be brought in to make sure the complete financial picture is known. A knowledgeable lawyer is also needed to make sure that any property that is not marital property is kept out of the property division agreement.


No one likes to have his or her financial details or family problems on public display. High-net worth couples are often at greater risk when their private problems and finances become part of the public record.

The use of collaborative divorce and other legal maneuverings can sometimes help limit the amount and type of information that becomes part of the public record.

Spousal Maintenance

The Illinois spousal maintenance guidelines can be very costly for some individuals in high-net worth divorces. However, because judges have discretion on when there is a need for spousal maintenance, lawyers can sometimes structure a property division in such a way that they can successfully argue a separate spousal maintenance order is not appropriate.

While every case is different, many times it makes financial sense to pay out a larger share of marital property at the time of the divorce instead of being saddled with a long-term spousal maintenance payment schedule.

If you are considering filing for divorce, or believe your spouse may be filing for divorce, you need to speak with a skilled and experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer who understands the unique issues of high-net worth divorces. Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule a consultation.