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How is the Value of an Asset Determined in an Illinois High Net Worth Divorce? 

Posted on in Divorce

st charles divorce lawyerIn divorces where one or both spouses has a high net worth, the divorce process can become very complicated. Illinois divorce courts conduct the asset division process with the goal of an “equitable distribution” - meaning that the worth of a couple’s assets are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. Assets that cannot be literally divided present additional complications. Property division may also be resolved through a mutual agreement between the spouses. 

Before an asset can be divided or used in negotiations, the value of the asset must be determined. This can be made even more challenging by disagreement over which assets are considered marital and are therefore subject to division. 

Is an Asset Marital or Nonmarital? 

Courts generally hold that assets acquired during the marriage are marital assets. However, in cases where assets are acquired through inheritance, gift, or legacy, courts usually view these assets as non-marital. But an inherited asset that starts as non-marital property does not always end that way; the way the asset is used can make it potential marital property. 

For example, if a spouse inherited a large sum of money, but then placed the money into a bank account owned jointly with their spouse and spent many years spending the sum on marital expenses, it could be difficult or even impossible to determine how much of that money is owned individually by the inheriting spouse. Likewise, if a spouse’s parents gifted their child an expensive car that was subsequently registered in both spouse’s names and used daily by both spouses, that car will likely be seen as marital property. 

How are Assets Valued? 

Divorce attorneys frequently use the help of professionals who know how to assess an asset’s value. Because items like collectible coins, furniture, and even club memberships can be very valuable but cannot be “divided,” forensic accountants, valuation experts, and subject-matter experts can be helpful when determining the worth of such an asset. 

Forensic accountants can also help determine the value of the entire marital estate, including family businesses, large and diversified financial portfolios, and overseas assets. If one spouse is attempting to hide or obfuscate the true value of an item, forensic accounts may be able to help find hidden assets and offer alternative valuations. 

Items that are sentimental to the marriage or a particular spouse can be sold off or negotiated in exchange for other assets. When assets are sold, the value of the asset is simply split equitably. 

Speak with a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

Determining the value of assets in a marital estate is a complex but important part of your divorce. If you are considering or already going through a high net worth divorce, speak with an experienced Kane County divorce attorney with the Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II P.C.. We have experience advocating for clients in your situation and can help you understand your options and work towards achieving a favorable outcome. Call us today for an initial consultation at 847-428-7725




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