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Wealthy divorce litigants may benefit by avoiding top mistakes

A recent article in Forbes addresses the mistakes that wealthy individuals make when going through a divorce. Some of these apply equally as well to those in the middle and upper middle economic classes. Georgia has its fair share of persons in each of these classifications who are in a divorce or getting ready to commence one.

One potential mistake occurs when a wealthy individual marries and does not have a prenuptial agreement signed prior to the marriage. A prenuptial contract is the legal instrument that keeps a wealthy client’s personal assets separated from the marriage and protected during a later divorce proceeding. Nonetheless, many marriages are commenced without a prenuptial contract being signed.

Where the assets and wealth are mostly accumulated after the marriage starts, the parties may have understandably failed to execute a prenuptial agreement. Assets and income generated after the marriage starts is generally marital property that is to be divided on a fifty-fifty basis. However, other considerations may come into play, and most modern divorce laws give a divorce litigant the right to request a distribution of more than 50 percent of the marital property.

It is generally a mistake to place excessive faith or emphasis on the ability of judges to get to the absolute truth of a matter and to always make rulings concerning contested issues in one’s favor. That idea does not often hold true in practice. Judges are as human as the other participants -- they don’t have a magic crystal ball or a special phone line to eternal wisdom.

Consequently, in a contested high net worth divorce in Georgia or other states, a pretrial negotiated settlement is generally preferred by the parties and the court itself. This will generally be preceded by detailed discovery and full disclosure of all assets and financial activities of the parties. Furthermore, in today’s practice of family law, financial planners and other experts often work in tandem with the divorce attorney to obtain the best outcome for the client.

Source: Forbes, "Three Of The Biggest Mistakes The Wealthy Make When Divorcing", Russ Alan Prince, June 9, 2014

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