High Net Worth Divorce


High Net Worth Divorce

Man holding tablet with words "net worth"High net worth divorce cases, also referred to as high asset divorce cases, generally involve cases where the value of the marital estate is worth $1 million or more. These cases are not unlike other divorce cases, as they address the equitable distribution of the marital property, child related issues if there are children born or adopted of the marriage, including custody and child support, as well as alimony. Similar to other divorce matters, high net worth divorce cases are dependent on the parties’ ability to compromise, their efforts to reach settlement, and long-term commitment to the future of the parties and the children.  However, divorce matters that involve substantial assets require a different level of preparation and representation, as the value of the assets require certain additional work that is not present in other divorce matters.

In high net worth divorces, wealth accumulates in many forms. Some of the assets that may be included in a high net worth divorce are the same as assets that exist in other divorces, just at much higher values. Often, in addition to the primary marital residence, there is additional real estate, perhaps vacation homes, second homes and investment properties. There will be retirement plans and deferred income plans, including pensions, annuities, IRAs, 401(k)s, and other plans that vest when the owner retires or reaches a certain age. There are businesses investments, and oftentimes significant personal valuables, such as art, jewelry, and antiques.  A substantial component of the financial analysis in high net worth divorce cases, is determining the tax consequences of maintaining assets, selling assets and transferring assets. 

As in all divorce matters, it is necessary to identify all the assets, properly have those assets valued, and ensure that you are protecting your rights. Unique to high asset divorce is recognizing that the value of the marital estate and the lifestyle should be preserved along with the marital savings component, which will need to be acknowledged, and continued.  Importantly, children have the right to continue to live a lifestyle reasonably comparable to the lifestyle lived during the course of the marriage, which in high net worth divorce cases, is much higher and more substantial than in the average divorce case. Issues such as alimony and child support also tend to be far more complex in a high net worth divorce situation. Children of wealthy families have higher extraordinary expenses and wealth preservation to consider.

Also, unique to high asset divorce cases is future estate planning. A component of a higher asset divorce generally entails the assets that the parties intended to set aside for future generations.  In addition, there are typically substantial inheritances that must be considered. 

High net worth divorce lawyers

Here at DeTorres and DeGeorge, we are high asset divorce attorneys and are experienced in representing clients with high net worth assets. During the divorce process, our skilled attorneys will work with you to identify the assets of the marriage. All of the marital assets must be determined, which often requires hiring real estate, business, and financial appraisers. In addition, it will be necessary to determine which assets are liquid, which assets can be sold immediately,  and which assets must be maintained until they vest, or perhaps should be retained because they provide a source of income. It is necessary to determine whether assets can be traded against other assets. For example, in high net worth divorce cases, parties may want to waive their right to retirement assets, in order to maintain the marital home, or perhaps retain businesses. It is necessary to determine which assets produce income and can continue to do so. In high net worth divorce cases, we work with a team of financial professionals to ensure that the marital assets are fully and comprehensively assessed. We will work with you to craft solutions to protect your financial future. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.


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