While many couples will try to resolve a divorce proceeding, amicably, this doesn’t mean that the process isn’t complicated. When it comes to couples with significant financial resources, it can be challenging to equally divide the assets. There are bank accounts, potential business interests, multiple cars, and possibly multiple houses.
Houses cannot be cut in two, meaning that it can be particularly difficult to decide who receives what pieces of property. With this in mind, what happens in a divorce proceeding when there are multiple homes that must be distributed between the two spouses?
When Was the Property Acquired?
The ultimate goal of a divorce proceeding is to divide the assets fairly. This isn’t always the same as dividing the assets equally. When there are multiple pieces of property involved, the first step is going to be deciding when and how the property was acquired.
If the couple entered the marriage already having a few of the pieces of property, then there is a chance that the property still remains in the name of only one of the two spouses. That spouse is likely to retain whatever pieces of property have their name and their name only on the title. If the couple purchased more property together while married, this is where the division takes place.
What Happens to Property Acquired During the Marriage?
Property that was acquired while the couple was together is generally going to be considered marital property. This means that this property will need to be divided between the spouses. It is important to remember that property that was brought into the marriage by one spouse and re-titled to have both spouses’ names on the title is also now considered marital property.
The division of the property is going to take place in the context of the assets as a whole. One spouse may receive more property than the other if the other spouse receives more of the jewelry, cars, or financial interests.
What if the Property was Placed in a Trust?
Many couples with significant assets place their assets in a trust. This can complicate the divorce proceedings slightly. The first question to ask is what kind of trust was the property placed in? Some trusts allow the grantor to retain ownership of the property. If this is the case, the property is included in the divorce proceedings. If the grantor loses ownership of the property when the trust is established, then they no longer have the title to the property and the property is not included in the divorce proceedings.
High net worth divorces are a complicated issue even if they are resolved amicably through the court system. It is important for anyone involved in a divorce to contact an experienced divorce attorney who can represent their interests throughout the ups and downs of their complex situation.