High Net Worth Divorce: What Pennsylvania Residents Should Know
Recently, it was announced that Bill and Melinda Gates were getting a divorce after 27 years of marriage. This type of separation would undoubtedly fall into a category of divorce known as “high net worth”.
High net worth divorces require some special considerations when compared to individuals in lower income brackets. For residents in Pennsylvania, the standard divorce laws and regulations will apply, but high income earners will almost certainly benefit from consultation with an experienced divorce attorney to understand how their assets will be examined and distributed upon finalization of the separation.
If you are part of a high net worth couple in Pennsylvania who has decided to divorce, read on to discover the ins and outs of this type of separation.
The Power of a Prenuptial Agreement
Perhaps the most streamlined method of proceeding with a high net worth divorce is to follow the guidelines outlined in a prenuptial agreement, if one was created prior to getting married. A prenuptial agreement clearly delineates how assets and finances will be divided in the event of a divorce.
Although a prenuptial agreement can make divorcing easier, the assets of high net worth individuals are always changing. Therefore, assets accumulated since the inception of the prenuptial agreement will need to be examined with the help of a divorce attorney.
The Residency Requirement
Regardless of your net worth, Pennsylvania law requires at least one spouse to live in the state for at least six months before filing for divorce. This requirement may prove difficult if you own residential property in Pennsylvania but you are living elsewhere for parts of the year. Consulting with a divorce attorney can help you determine how to effectively satisfy this residency requirement.
Understand Property Division
In Pennsylvania, property in a divorce is divided by the courts in a manner they determine to be “equitable”, which doesn’t necessarily take into account forms of misconduct on the part of either spouse. Instead of looking at actions of misconduct, the courts instead consider factors such as the length of the marriage, any prior marriages of either spouse, contributions one spouse makes to another in realms such as education, and the economic circumstances of each spouse.
This can become an issue if a couple is deemed to be high net worth due in large part to only one spouse. When this is the case, it will be important for the courts to determine the impact that the separation will have on both members of the couple, and determine what share of assets would allow for an equitable separation.
Ensuring that your assets are properly appraised can help the courts quickly and efficiently determine the scope of your worth as a couple and how assets should be divided. A divorce attorney typically maintains relationships with experienced appraisers and forensic accountants that can review your finances and come to an accurate determination of asset value.
Professionals in Delaware County
For over three decades, Barbara Flum Stein & Associates has been serving Media and the greater Delaware County area. Divorce can be a complicated and messy situation, but the Media divorce lawyers at Barbara Flum Stein & Associates know how to make the process simple, direct, and most importantly fair. Contact Barbara Flum Stein & Associates today to get your questions answered.