There are myriad issues which must be dealt with in a divorce. And though many of those issues will be present in most divorces, couples with a high net worth may face them differently than other divorcing couples. Because the issues can be more complex, certain aspects – like temporary spousal support – can become more important.
How is temporary spousal support different from permanent?
Imagine a couple who is about to embark on the divorce process. One spouse is the primary earner in the family – they make a significant income and, as a result, the couple has many assets of a varied nature. The other spouse primarily remained in the home and raised the family. When they separate, the earning spouse moves out of the residence while the other spouse stays in the home and continues day-to-day care of the children.
The stay-at-home spouse no longer has the ability to support the home or care for the children, in the absence of the earning spouse. Beyond that, they are also at a financial disadvantage as the couple enters the legal process. This is where temporary spousal support comes in – it’s intended to retain the status quo of the parties while the divorce proceeds, so that one does not suffer a disadvantage while the court considers long-term orders.
How does this affect high-asset couples more?
The very nature of a high-asset marriage can make the divorce process more contentious, complicated and protracted. The assets can be more difficult to identify, classify and distribute appropriately. Such a situation can exacerbate the financial disadvantage one spouse can experience. It’s important to note that the court will seek to level the playing field somewhat, not to make the temporary support so onerous that it simply shifts the disadvantage from one spouse to the other.