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Changing demographics: implications for divorce asset division

This blog post is about interesting information on the so-called "new rising class" and the implications for divorce cases. It is probably fairly safe to say that any reader of today's entry is not one of the reportedly 492 billionaires living in the United States. That wealth threshold spells the tiniest gateway through which, collectively considered, an infinitesimal number of uber-rich Americans squeeze through.

Below that most exclusive entryway, though, a far higher number of Americans have (as noted in a recent report from Penta magazine, a publication devoted to wealth-related subject matter) "surged ahead with a caffeinated velocity."

According to one major consulting group, that means this: There are now more than one million U.S. households that command at least $5 million in wealth, followed by several million others that have seven-figure portfolios below that margin.

To note that such a broad uptick in wealth understandably has material implications for many divorces in Minnesota and nationally is a sheer understatement.

As we note on our family law website and select prior blog entries at the Twin Cities Mack & Santana Law Offices, P.C., asset identification and equitable property division is a central concern in many divorces. It is certainly logical that, as wealth increases in a marriage, it will likely become a heightened concern in proceedings surrounding marital dissolution.

In fact, comparatively outsized wealth invariably introduces a ratcheted-up complexity into divorce negotiations and outcomes, commencing with the need to properly identify the assets, their value and wealth that can come from many sources. Those range widely from real property holdings, family businesses and sizable investment accounts to pensions, bonuses, stock options, restricted stock, executive incentive compensation, identification of other assets that may not be vested and additional income-producing streams.

The issues may be further complicated if one of the parties, or both, owned substantial assets before the marriage that have increased in value. In Minnesota, a party can make a claim that certain assets are nonmarital (or pre-marital) and exclude those from division of the marital estate.

Mack & Santana attorneys routinely work with high-net-worth clients in unique asset-related divorce matters, diligently seeking to promote the best interests of those who need our help to reach equitable outcomes. It is crucial to work with attorneys and financial experts well versed in dealing with complex estates in a dissolution case to address these types of issues.

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