Counting the Costners: High Net Worth Divorces and Their Impact on Children

Posted by Joseph Lento | Aug 11, 2023 | 0 Comments

As reported in an article by Fox News, in May of 2023, Christine Baumgartner filed for divorce from her husband and famous Yellowstone actor, Kevin Costner. The former couple's divorce has been messy, to say the least, and has been plagued most significantly by ongoing feuds regarding Costner's child support obligations. Although both parties requested joint custody of their three children, Baumgartner requested a whopping $248,000.00 a month from Costner in child support. This figure garnered significant media attention, exposing the couple's lifestyle that their three children had become accustomed to over the years. While the couple's dispute continues in the California court system, it calls to mind the impact that high-net-worth divorces can have on a couple's children.

High Net Worth Divorces Defined

Although every divorce proceeding is unique, high-net-worth divorces are typically divorces that involve a couple with significant assets. What are "significant" assets, you may ask? While money can be invested in many formats, high net-worth divorces involve the division of major assets such as multiple properties, boats, yachts, planes, a fleet of cars, significant savings, stocks, etc.

As if the division of these assets weren't challenging enough, some assets may be hidden or harder to quantify, such as valuable artwork or heirlooms. Oftentimes financial experts and forensic accountants must be hired by the parties or their attorney to uncover hidden assets or provide expert opinions to the court about the value of complex possessions.

Just like any divorce, children of high-net-worth couples are likely caught in the crossfires of emotion and familial changes. Many high-net-worth divorces involve prominent figures, if not on the national stage, at least on the local stage. These divorces also tend to drag on and on through continuous litigation because there are more assets to divide, and the parties are capable of funding ongoing litigation. Other potential effects are addressed below.

Lifestyle Changes

High-net-worth families may be accustomed to a luxurious lifestyle which often comes with the perks of living in large homes, attending exclusive schools, enjoying luxurious vacations, and participating in costly activities. During a divorce, these privileges might be scaled back or significantly altered, which can be unsettling for the children who are already processing their parents' separation. An attorney can help ensure your children's lives aren't drastically changed by your divorce.

Future Planning Concerns

High net worth divorces often involve complex financial arrangements, such as trusts, inheritances, and business interests. Because some of these assets can be dissolved, divided, or lost due to litigation fees, what once was promised as future financial security for the children can disappear overnight.

How to Support Children Throughout the Divorce

To mitigate the impact on children during a high-net-worth divorce, parents must prioritize their well-being and maintain open lines of communication. Any child custody and. or visitation arrangements should be designed with the children's best interests in mind, taking into account their emotional and practical needs, such as their schools, friends, activities, pets, etc.

It may also be beneficial for children to speak to a counselor or a therapist who has experience helping children process change. Providing love, understanding, and support can make all the difference!

Work With An Attorney Who Cares

If you find yourself facing a high net worth divorce and want a compassionate attorney who understands the complexities of these situations, contact the LLF Law Firm's experienced Family Law Team for help. Contact us by calling our 24/7 line at (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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