We have written in this blog before about high-asset divorces and the issues faced by those who experience them. High-asset divorces often involve complex financial instruments; often, special legal processes are required to successfully divide couple's assets and finalize the divorce. Generally speaking, the more assets and the more types of assets that a couple has, the more complex the divorce will be.
Here in Illinois, high-asset couples get divorced every day with the assistance of skilled attorneys. Fortunately, most of these divorces are much simpler than one that took place in New York between two real estate magnates.
The New York Times recently profiled the Swigs, a pair of high-profile real estate investors. Both came from wealthy families; together, they used their wealth to invest heavily in large New York properties.
Following the economic downturn near the end of the last decade, however, things took a turn for the worse. The Swigs fell heavily into debt as property values plummeted. Eventually, the strain of the financial troubles led to divorce.
The couple's assets and debts were almost certainly very complex, which would contribute to an extremely complicated division of assets. The issue, however, was simplified somewhat by a post-nuptial agreement that was signed between Mr. and Ms. Swig. Under the terms of the post-nuptial agreement, Ms. Swig was allowed to keep millions of dollars' worth of assets and real estate, while Mr. Swig assumed most of the family's debt. The post-nuptial agreement was signed on the same day that Mr. Swig received a large loan from his wife's family.
Post-nuptial agreements, like prenuptial agreements, can simplify the divorce process greatly by outlining the terms of the property division. This allows high asset divorces to be completed more quickly and easily. In the case of the Swigs, the post-nuptial agreement likely prevented a great deal of acrimonious wrangling between the two parties.
Source: The New York Times, "With Fortune Falling, a 1 Percent Divorce" Julie Creswell, Feb. 01, 2014