What is a complex asset in divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2020 | Divorce

There is no legal definition for complex assets or high-asset divorce. However, if you have any of the following, you might need to spend more time on the division problem than most people.

Deciding who gets what in a divorce is often one of the most contentious subjects for couples. FindLaw supports this, stating that your divorce would likely be more complicated if you have more assets.

Stock options

You may have received your stock options for any number of reasons. In divorce court, these reasons could matter, as they indicate whether the options were a reward for past performance, a signing bonus or as incentive to stay with the company.

Retirement accounts

Employee matched retirement funds may contain a mix of marital property and your own private property. Determining the exact nature of these funds may require some detailed accounting.

Unique pieces

Works of art and collections might pose problems during property division. The value of these types of assets fluctuates, and even contemporaneous estimates of value may disagree. Furthermore, it might cause discord if both you and your spouse want a unique item.


Companies, even small businesses, often hold a diversified portfolio of assets. Depending on your business’s structure, you may have to decide how to divide some of these assets, or to provide alternative compensation.

There are many other types of valuable items that could pose problems for one reason or another during asset division. Foreign real estate, securities, heirlooms: All typically require an attention to detail and procedural care above and beyond the standard divorce process.