High asset divorces have all the expected legal issues and emotional challenges of any divorce, but they also have additional complexities due to the unique concerns and needs of each spouse and their family. If you are beginning the process of a high asset divorce, you need to find a divorce attorney in Columbia who knows the unique challenges and considerations of this type of divorce and has the legal skill and compassion needed to help you with your case.

A high asset or high net worth divorce is when one or both spouses have a number of assets, high-value assets, or complex assets. Resolving property division and other unique high asset divorce issues may take years without a knowledgeable attorney.

Identifying Assets

Before the division of marital assets can occur, both marital and separate assets have to be identified and categorized properly. Whether spouses are negotiating their own property division agreement or are subject to the court’s equitable distribution laws, all property must be accounted for. For high asset divorces, this can take significant time and require unique financial professionals to determine what is community and separate property.

Evaluating Assets

Both marital and separate property must also be valued to determine fair asset division. Accurate valuation is essential in high net worth and high asset divorces. High asset divorces frequently include complex assets, such as stocks, co-owned or individual businesses, or intellectual property, which have less clear values or changing values. Financial professionals may be necessary for both the valuation and equitable or fair split of assets.

Cost and Length of Divorce Proceedings

High asset divorces tend to take longer because of the number of complex issues that must be resolved and the number of assets that must be managed. These complex issues, combined with the time it takes to resolve them, make the cost of a high asset divorce much more significant.

Attorney fees are typically hourly, so lengthy proceedings increase the costs. Additional costs come from hiring financial professionals, investigators, forensic accountants, and other professionals to value assets or uncover hidden assets. The divorce becomes even more expensive if it goes to court.

Patience is important in these cases to better protect your rights, your financial interests, and your family’s future.

Marital Agreements

Although any couple can benefit from a marital agreement, they are traditionally more common in high asset and high net worth marriages. Marital agreements include both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, both of which may outline the division of assets if the couple divorces. If the agreement is legally valid and considered fair by the court, it may be enforced.

In most cases, a marital agreement can make the process of divorce much faster and less complicated. Unfortunately, it can also make the process more complex if it is unenforceable. If the agreement only protects one spouse’s assets and income without protecting the other spouse, this may be considered unfair.

Hidden Assets

Spouses in a high asset divorce and spouses with contentious relations are more likely to hide assets. Hidden assets can result in one spouse getting fewer marital assets than they deserve, sometimes to the point of financial hardship. If a spouse is hiding assets in formal discovery, they can face criminal charges. Significant resources and a skilled attorney are necessary to uncover hidden assets.

Child Support and Spousal Support

Both child support and spousal maintenance may be affected by one or both spouses having a high net worth. The formulas the state uses to calculate maintenance and child support have an income cap, providing the judge discretion to award reasonable support.

Spousal maintenance is based on the needs of one spouse for support and the ability of the other spouse to pay that support, which may be relevant if one spouse makes significantly more than the other. Child support must calculate for additional costs not covered by standard support due to costs like private education or expensive extracurriculars. Because the standard of living is much higher for spouses and their children, support payments may also be higher.


Q: How Are Assets Split in a Missouri Divorce?

A: Assets in a Missouri divorce are split according to equitable distribution laws if they are split by the family court. Assets can also be split outside of these laws if spouses make a separation agreement outside of court. If the division of assets is determined to be reasonable and not place either spouse in financial hardship, the court will agree to the negotiated property division. Assets are also split differently in a divorce if a couple has an enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Q: Is Missouri a 50-50 Divorce State?

A: No, Missouri is not a 50-50 state for divorce. Property division is managed through equitable distribution. The court will review several factors, including:

  • The economic circumstances of each spouse, including their separate assets
  • Each spouse’s conduct during the marriage
  • Each spouse’s contributions to marital property, both financial and non-financial
  • The arrangements for child custody and the importance of children remaining in the marital home

Based on these factors, the court will decide what is a fair and equitable distribution of marital assets. In some situations, a fair distribution is 50-50. However, this is uncommon.

Q: Is Inheritance Considered Marital Property in Missouri?

A: Inheritance, if it is gifted to only one spouse, is not considered marital property in Missouri. This is true even if the inheritance was obtained during the marriage. The court assumes all property obtained during the marriage and before the decree of legal separation is marital property unless shown otherwise, so you must be able to prove it was inheritance given only to you.

Q: What Are the Different Types of Divorce in Missouri?

A: The different types of divorce in Missouri are uncontested or contested divorces, and there are no fault-based grounds for divorce allowed in the state. The only grounds are that the marriage is irretrievably broken, which is no-fault based. Uncontested divorces occur when spouses can agree on the terms of their separation agreement, such as how marital assets are divided and a parenting plan.

Contested divorces occur when spouses cannot agree on these aspects and must negotiate these issues or take them to court.

Protecting Your Financial Interests in a High-Asset Divorce

At Stange Law Firm, we can help you navigate your high net worth divorce. Contact our firm today.