Fans of the Detroit Lions will certainly recall the hall-of-fame career of running back Emmitt Smith, who played for conference rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, and won 3 Super Bowl championships. Now, however, Smith will face a different challenge as he and his wife, Pat Southall, recently announced their intention to separate. The couple has been married for 20 years, and have three children together.

According to Southall’s social media announcement, the pair came to a mutual decision that divorce is the best path forward. The soon-to-be separated couple suggest they will continue to co-parent their children and remain friends. The post also cites their intention to continue with their joint business interests.

High asset divorce considerations

With a Hall-of-Fame career, Smith and his wife likely have significant assets that will need to be addressed during the divorce process. Many Michigan couples – particularly those who have been together for many years, have children, and put their collective assets to work – will face similar issues should they decide to separate. In Michigan, the law requires the equitable division of property, which seeks to fairly split the vast wealth that high worth couples may have.

Of course, the challenge is in the details. Couples who accumulate significant assets will need to properly account for all the various things they own – stock investments, real estate, personal property like vehicles or jewelry, and more. Further, those who share a business will face additional tasks in determining appropriate ownership and how best to divide the interests.

Charting a strong path forward

For many reasons, divorce is the right decision for a lot of couples. However, the stakes can be very high for those going through the process to help ensure the best possible situation in post-divorce life. Because the process of dividing property – among other issues like child custody – can be challenging and overwhelmingly detailed, working with counsel experienced in navigating the law and courts can be vital to achieving an acceptable outcome.