High Net Worth Divorce


High Net Worth Divorce

High net worth divorce cases generally involve cases where the value of the marital property is $1 million or more. High asset divorce cases affect every aspect of the divorce including the equitable division of marital property, child custody, child support, and alimony. Even when couples have prepared a prenuptial agreement, the agreement generally doesn’t cover child support and child alimony.

How high net worth divorce lawyers counsel spouses

An experienced New Jersey high asset divorce lawyer helps spouses by:

  •         Identifying all the assets your spouse or partner owns.
  •         Determining how to value all the assets. This often requires hiring real estate, business, and financial appraisers because different experts can value your spouse’s property and yours differently.
  •         Analyzing which assets are liquid which means they can be sold immediately and which assets can’t be sold until they vest or shouldn’t be sold because they provide a source of income.
  •         Determining which assets can be traded off against other assets. For example, in a high net worth divorce, you may want to waive your right to your spouse’s retirement interests in order to keep the marital home or keep your business.
  •         Studying which assets are income-producing assets. Businesses are often of primary importance in a high asset divorce because they provide a living for the spouse who owns the business.

What assets need to be identified and valued in a high net worth divorce?

Spouses who have been married for a long time, who inherit wealth, or who remarry accumulate wealth in many forms. Some of the assets that may be part of a high net worth divorce case include:

  •         Real estate. In addition to the marital home, wealthier spouses may have vacation homes, second homes, and investment properties.
  •         Retirement plans and deferred income plans include pensions, annuities, IRAs, 401ks, and other plans that vest when the owner retires or reaches a certain age.
  •         Businesses. Spouses may own their own business, have a partnership interest, own stock, or have other business assets. Businesses are especially difficult to value since the owner of the business will claim a low value while the non-owner wants to show the business has a high value. In addition to valuing the business if it’s sold, a second valuation needs to be made in high income divorce cases, to determine how much salary, dividends, or other payments the business will generate.
  •         Investments. Investments can take many forms including stocks, bonds, ownership in property, and ownership of a business.
  •         Personal valuables include jewelry, art, and antiques

Part of the financial analysis in high net worth divorce cases is determining the tax consequences of keeping an asset, selling the asset, and transferring the assets.

High asset divorce issues

A skilled New Jersey high asset divorce lawyer explains how high assets or a high income affects the following issues:

  •         Marital property. Generally, all property acquired during a marriage is considered marital property – unless there is a valid prenuptial agreement. A skilled New Jersey divorce lawyer helps spouses prioritize the assets they want to keep. Through negotiation, mediation, collaboration, or litigation; we work to exchange some assets for others, determine how buy-outs will work, and otherwise work to ensure you receive your equitable share of the marital property.
  •         Alimony. If one spouse earns much more than the other spouse, even if both spouses have significant assets after the equitable distribution phase is resolved – then the spouse with the lesser income opportunities may be entitled to rehabilitative alimony or longer-term alimony.
  •         Child custody. One parent can’t use his/her financial advantage over the other parent to obtain child custody. Child support is always based on the best needs of the children.
  •         Child support. Children have the right to live in the manner they did before the divorce. This includes the right to a high level of child support in a high net worth divorce.

High asset divorce mistakes include:

  •         Failing to identify all the assets
  •         Failing to properly value all the assets
  •         Not asserting your rights and your child’s rights to everything you deserve on thinking that having a minimal amount is enough
  •         Failing to protect your rights in assets such as a business

At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law, our high net worth divorce lawyers are strong advocates for spouses no matter what their finances are. In high net worth divorce cases, we work with a team of financial professionals to fully and properly assess your financial assets and those of your spouses. We’re very experienced at crafting solutions that protect your financial future and your children’s future. We’ve handled many million-plus divorce cases. To talk with a premier family lawyer, call us at 908-691-2104 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Clinton and Morristown.

Erin D. DeGeorge
Erin D. DeGeorge joined DeTorres & DeGeorge, LLC as partner to the firm in June of 2010. Prior to joining DeTorres & DeGeorge, Erin was associated with the national firm of Fox Rothschild LLP and Cutler, Simeone, Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, LLC...
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