Divorce cases that contain international assets can make property division complicated. International assets most commonly take the form of vacation homes, investment properties, inheritances, bank accounts, foreign trusts, and foreign retirement accounts. While parties in a divorce are required to disclose all their assets, including international ones, it doesn’t always happen. Even if both parties disclose their international assets, it can be hard to agree on valuing those assets, or even find enough information about those assets to determine what exactly your spouse owns. Different laws in different jurisdictions concerning inheritance, property division, privacy, and divorce can all complicate the divorce process in the United States. It may be wise to discuss hiring a country legal expert in order to find and value all international assets.
After valuing the international asset, its value can be added to the marital property as a whole. Generally, a domestic court cannot exercise jurisdiction over foreign assets, the only option being the court’s ability to order a party to do certain things. If at all possible, international assets are offset against other marital property. For example, if you and your spouse own a $350,000 vacation home in Costa Rica, the court can award one spouse the vacation home and credit the other spouse with $350,000 in other marital property. This single example of problem-solving circumvents the issue of the court’s limited jurisdiction and the complexities attendant to a forced liquidation of international assets.
If you are concerned about your international assets as you begin your divorce process, contact Attorney Zachary Smith who will creatively and strategically find ways to value your international assets and obtain a favorable property division.