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Mishandled divorce starts before the filing

Photo of Karen Lavin

When not handled correctly, divorce can be emotionally, physically and financially draining. For those who have significant means in the marriage, a divorce can mean devastation to a fortune that took years to amass. In light of what may be lost if a divorce is not carefully planned out and executed precisely, it is vital to approach a divorce with sober judgement and excellent counsel.

Take, for instance, the plight of an Illinois businessman with assets valued at several hundred million dollars. In 2003, the businessman's wife filed for divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences, while claiming that she was entitled to half of his significant means.

The businessman's legal counsel argued to the courts that this was an enormous overreach and that he was the sole owner of his fortune, but his wife's counsel made the case that she had consistently acted as a companion and confidant throughout the course of their relationship, including though some very trying professional times for him. Ultimately, the courts ruled in favor of the wife and awarded her $184 million dollars in the divorce settlement.

Just because a person has means doesn't mean that they are taking the right steps to protect them. Similarly, if you are a spouse to a person with significantly greater personal wealth than you have, you may want to consult a lawyer about steps you can take to ensure that you will not be left with less than you deserve in the event of a divorce.

Divorce, when handled correctly, can provide both the relational finality that you need and a fair settlement to get both of you back in the world and onto better things. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, you can approach a divorce with confidence, knowing that your rights will remain protected.

Source: Huffington Post, "5 Entrepreneurs Who Lost Millions From Not Planning Their Divorce Properly," George Beall, Nov. 15, 2016

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