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How couples can find equitable division in a high-asset divorce

Divorce can be difficult anywhere, including in Pennsylvania, when there are significant assets involved such as business and rental properties, pension plans, restricted stocks and life insurance policies. Anyone who is in the middle of a less-than-amicable divorce where assets and properties are a point of dispute should know the basics about asset division starting with how the state handles property division.

What does equitable distribution mean? In Pennsylvania, this means property division should be fair. Courts consider several factors in determining what is equitable, including the length of the marriage, a couple's standard of living during the marriage, each spouse's emotional health and physical needs, their finances, the contributions of each spouse to the career advancement of the other and the ability of a spouse to act as a custodial parent and meet the needs of any children involved.

What happens to high-asset divorce proceedings in court? When a couple with considerable assets takes its case to court for resolution, the outcome is difficult to predict. This is why many high-asset divorces are settled out of court where couples have more control over the outcome.

What is the best approach to dividing assets and property? Whether or not a couple decides to settle a high asset divorce in court or out of court, both spouses should remain civil. This will make it easier to trade items such as artwork with other properties. More than anything, equitable property division must be fair. It does not necessarily mean that all property and assets are sold and that both spouses walk away with half the proceeds.

The involvement of independent appraisers can also help, especially in the valuation of significant assets. Any couple dealing with such assets should consider the services of a qualified legal professional to ensure that every issue is addressed.

Source: Huffingtonpost.com, "Understanding how assets get divided in divorce," Jeff Landers, accessed on Dec. 15, 2014

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