In many ways, divorces in Pennsylvania work the same way no matter how much wealth or income a couple has between them. For example, Pennsylvania’s laws about the division of property apply consistently to all couples seeking a divorce.
Likewise, Pennsylvania’s courts make child custody decisions based on the best interests of the children involved, and they will refer to the standard guidelines regarding the calculation of child support.
However, in many other respects, State College couples who are high-earners or who have a high net worth will face several challenges that may not impact other couples as significantly.
Assets in high net worth divorces can be hard to locate, divide
For example, wealthier couples in the State College area may have their net worth invested in several properties and accounts such as businesses, investment real estate or even fine art or other collectibles.
These assets are frequently more difficult to put a precise value on than, say, an ordinary family home, a car or a bank account. Putting a correct value on these assets may require the help of both a legal professional and a financial expert.
Unfortunately, some high-earners may try to hide assets during a divorce proceeding so that they do not have to divide them.
Some of these schemes can be elaborate, which means a person who is being deprived his share may have to develop a detailed strategy for uncovering these assets and bringing them to the court’s attention.
Finally, the tax consequences of a divorce can be significant for people with a lot of wealth. Someone going through a divorce will want to be aware of these consequences before agreeing to any sort of settlement.
A high income could mean that child support, alimony require special attention
People who earn a lot of income or who have access to wealth may also have to think more carefully about alimony, child support and other matters.
It can be more difficult to get a full picture of the true income of someone who, for example, receives executive compensation, rental income or the like. Also, it may be harder for courts to apply bright-line rules to child support and alimony when one or both spouses have a high income.
Still, these payments can be a determining factor in whether or not a person can maintain her lifestyle after a divorce.