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Billionaire split sheds light on elements of high-asset divorces

Any time a couple ends a marriage, it can be an incredible strain on both people financially, physically and emotionally. However, when there are considerable assets involved, there is great potential for the divorce to get bitter, contentious and drawn-out.

Billionaire Elon Musk and his estranged wife Talulah Riley are apparently trying their best to avoid these complications as they move forward in their own divorce. According to reports, Riley has recently filed for divorce, yet the two remain amicable. However, there are some realities of a high-asset divorce that the divorcing couple may not be able to avoid.

In any high-asset divorce, the determination of what is and is not eligible for distribution can be quite complex. For example, a couple getting divorced in Omaha will have their marital assets distributed equitably between each spouse. However, determining what is and is not considered marital property can be an intricate and tedious process that demands legal and financial knowledge.

If two people were affluent or had a stark imbalance of wealth prior to a marriage, it is very likely that they will have put a prenuptial agreement in place. If you are in this situation, you may find that you or your soon-to-be ex can end up challenging the agreement in an effort to get more money in a settlement. This can be particularly true for two people who accumulated much more wealth during the course of their marriage.

Finally, as is the case in Musk's divorce, spousal support can often be requested. Maintaining the lifestyle led during a marriage can be very difficult when one spouse was the breadwinner, so it is not unusual to address alimony in a high-asset divorce.

While it is said that money can't buy happiness, it can be a source of great stress and anxiety in high-asset divorces because of how high the financial stakes are. With so much to consider and address in these situations, it can be vital for people to have experienced legal and financial guidance.

Source: Fortune, "Elon Musk's Wife Files for Divorce," Robert Hackett, March 22, 2016

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