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Don’t believe everything you hear about high-asset divorces

Thanks to social media, it’s not uncommon to hear about expensive celebrity divorces. Many divorces, like the ones we read about in the papers, are extremely complex due to the amount of assets the divorcing couple owns, such as pensions, retirement accounts and vacation homes.

Despite the attention these divorces receive, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding high net worth divorces. Learn the facts behind the most frequent myths about divorce.

Misconception: I have my own, separate bank accounts, so my spouse is not entitled to what is in them.

Reality: Money held in separate bank accounts may be part of the marital estate. Where the money came from is the deciding factor. If any of the money in the account came from your income during your marriage, then the bank account is martial property. However, if money from an inheritance to one spouse is put into a separate bank account, then the bank account could be deemed separate property.

Misconception: My spouse is not entitled to any retirement benefits because only my name is on the plan.

Reality: In Massachusetts, nearly all retirement accounts are considered marital assets. Some exceptions include railroad retirement benefits and social security benefits.

Misconception: My spouse is not employed, so I am going to pay a lot of alimony.

Reality: Not every financially-dependent spouse is entitled to alimony in Massachusetts. Generally, the longer a couple was married, the more probable that alimony will be granted. On the other hand, if a couple was married for a very short time, it is less likely that a spouse will receive alimony – even if she or he was unemployed during the marriage.

Misconception: If I divorce my spouse, my small business is going to be compromised.

Reality: Not necessarily. Like all other assets, it must be determined if your business is a marital or separate property.

Divorce is an emotional and complex process, especially for a high-asset couple. This information, and what you read the Internet, is just the icing on the cake of all you need to know about obtaining a divorce. Do not attempt to go through your divorce without experienced and skilled legal counsel. Contact an attorney at the Boston Law Offices of Lisa A. Ruggieri if you are seeking alimony, if you are worried about protecting your investments or if you have concerns about losing control over your business.

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