As a couple with a high net worth, you may worry that your divorce will take a long time and that it will come at a great cost to each of you. You could be right, especially if you aren’t able to agree on how to divide your assets.

California’s community property laws make it possible for couples to know ahead of time that they’ll need to split their assets evenly upon divorce unless they have a pre- or postnuptial agreement in place. If you have a property agreement in the form of a pre- or postnuptial agreement, then you will want to take it to your attorney to check its validity before negotiating for the assets you would like following the divorce.

What are some problems people face with high-value divorces?

One of the primary issues is not knowing all of the assets that can be divided. For example, property can include items such as:

  • Clothing
  • Furniture in your home
  • Stocks
  • Businesses
  • Patents
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit accounts
  • Cash

Debts are also divisible in these divorces, which can pose additional issues if they were for a partner’s business or a particular person’s schooling.

The courts will make decisions on how to divide your property in the most equal way, but only if you cannot decide on how to divide your assets yourself. While the 50-50 split is fair based on California’s laws, you and your spouse may agree to a different arrangement.

For example, if your spouse wants your home and doesn’t want your business, you may find that the divide is not even in terms of value. Depending on the emotional value of those items, your spouse might agree to allow that split despite it not being fair to avoid selling the home or having to split its value in other ways. You can choose to make up the difference in value with other assets, or you may both agree that the split is fine as it is.

Keep in mind that the judge will have to sign off on any agreement you make, so you want to be able to show why the property division arrangement you made is fair and agreeable. In most cases, judges are going to encourage even or nearly even splits of property unless you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that has validated another type of property division for the event of a divorce.