The average divorce proceeding costs between $15,000 and $30,000, but when a couple with a high net worth couple files for divorce, the numbers can easily soar into six digits. Not only that, but larger and more complex assets take time to split up.
Needless to say, there are some unique legal issues that come with high net worth divorces. Here are just a few of those issues that divorce lawyers see in these cases.
Splitting Complex Assets
Elon Musk and Talulah Riley divorced in 2012, remarried in 2013, and divorced for a second and final time in 2016. According to the attorney working with Riley at the time of their first divorce, “the true nature and extent of community property assets and obligations [were] unknown” when she initially filed. In addition, all of the money made during their second marriage qualified as marital property subject to division.
Needless to say, the rising amount of net worth acquired by Musk made for tricky division of assets. This is a particularly relevant issue in divorces where both parties have a high net worth. Riley and Musk spent about eight months completing an allegedly amicable divorce, but complex assets can often take much longer to sort through.
Sticking with the Riley/Musk case as an example, one of the biggest issues in both of their divorces was determining the effect they would have on all of the companies and projects that Musk has a stake in. According to a report by the Harvard Business School detailing the impact of CEO divorces on shareholders, three major things may happen:
- CEO attitude toward risk may increase
- CEO energy, concentration, and productivity may decrease or become erratic
- CEO may suffer from a loss of influence or control if forced to sell part of their business
While Musk may not have suffered from this particular legal issue so much, it is still something that has a huge effect on CEOs around the world.
Facing divorce is hard enough, but facing it with complex assets involved requires an attorney who is experienced with the nature of the legal issues that often become involved. It is important for them not only to understand divorce law, but also to understand the many ways in which a divorce can affect a business. Legal experience always matters in a divorce, but it should take special precedence in these types of cases.