Higher-income couples can enjoy a better standard of living during marriage than the average household. They may remain financially stable even during times of economic hardship. However, when higher-asset couples divorce, they may be at a very specific disadvantage when compared with lower-income households.
The divorce process can quickly become a litigated nightmare that costs far more than people initially anticipate. Not only do contested or litigated divorces tend to cost more, but they also typically take longer to resolve. And ultimately, higher-asset couples often end up embroiled in more contentious divorce proceedings than usual due to the nature of their circumstances.
They have more property to divide
The more assets that couples share with each other, the more they have to disagree about as they negotiate terms for their separation and divorce. The challenges they face can include not just deciding the most appropriate division of those assets but also negotiating fair values for their resources. Deferred compensation like stock options can be hard to value, as can someone’s ownership interest in a small private practice that they operate. Property division is often a challenge even though Georgia has clear rules requiring an equitable division of marital assets.
There may be a bigger discrepancy in resources
When couples don’t need two incomes, the higher-earning spouse may agree to support the other spouse if they stay home to take care of the home or their shared children. Therefore, the lower-earning or dependent spouse may have a claim for alimony. Many couples find themselves disagreeing vehemently about what terms are fair for alimony, and it will often be necessary to have the courts resolve those disagreements.
Intense careers can create custody challenges
Households with two successful parents may not have to worry as much about covering the costs of raising their children, but they may have more challenges handling co-parenting negotiations. Adults with high-demand careers they have a hard time agreeing on an appropriate way of sharing parenting time for their minor children. Particularly if both parents work irregular schedules are frequently travel for their careers, it will become increasingly difficult to coordinate those needs after they start living separately and sharing custody of the children.
Higher-asset couples may find that they have a hard time reaching agreements on key aspects of their divorces. If they do not take a thoughtful approach to the process and seek legal guidance to assist them throughout it, they could very well end up with undesirable property division and custody terms.