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High Net Worth Divorce: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff?


Melinda Gates may be about to receive the biggest divorce settlement in history.  Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt filed for divorce in 2016, and their divorce is still going on.  Kanye and Kim mostly kept their finances separate during their marriage, but in their tax bracket, divorce is never simple.  Why does divorce among the wealthy so often turn into such a big mess?  It is as easy to divide a net worth in the eight figures or more by two as it is to divide a net worth in the five figures.  Usually, it is because wealthy people have more resources to fighting it out in court about little things.  Celebrity divorce lawyer Robert Stephan Cohen says that protracted divorce battles usually involve couples refusing to compromise about minutiae, after the major issues have been decided.  No matter your net worth, a Palm Beach County divorce lawyer can help you and your spouse reach fair and practical solutions about division of property.

The Four Percent Rule Isn’t Just for Retirement Planning

In retirement planning, lawyers tell you to plan to withdraw four percent of your retirement savings each year, but Cohen’s four percent rule for high-net-worth divorce is something different.  Cohen represented Chris Rock during the comedian’s divorce in 2016.  Rock’s fans will recall that he stands out among celebrities for living within his means and making wise financial decisions; his famous line, “being wealthy isn’t about having money, it’s about having options” is true even outside the context of a memorably hilarious stand-up routine.  Early in his divorce case, Rock confided in Cohen his fear that a costly divorce would squander the wealth he had acquired for his children.  Cohen assured him that, when couple’s spend years fighting over property division, they are usually only fighting over the last four percent of their marital property; 96 percent of the issues have already been decided.

In other words, the parties have already agreed that Mom will keep the marital home and Dad will pay her alimony; they only disagree about how much Mom’s alimony should be reduced given that she also gets a paid-off house. Mom wants $10,000 per month, and Dad thinks $9,000 is reasonable, but all of this is a drop in the bucket considering the couple’s multimillion-dollar net worth.  The same is true of parenting time; no one disputes that the kids will stay with Mom while attending school, but they will spend some weekends and part of summer vacation with Dad, but Dad wants the kids for seven weeks out of the summer, whereas Mom only wants to let him have them for six weeks.  Appeals courts have made decisions that reassign a single item of furniture out of a couple’s marital property.  Meanwhile, the parties spend tens of thousands of dollars in court, if not more, fighting about these minor issues.

Chris Rock is smart enough to focus on the 96 percent instead of the four percent.  Are you?

Contact Us Today for Help

A Boca Raton divorce lawyer can help you avoid getting drawn into an expensive court battle over petty issues about which your ex-spouse is being stubborn.  Contact Schwartz | White for more information.



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