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High Asset Divorce
In the broadest sense, a High Asset Divorce follows the same path as any other divorce – the court must make a determination as to which assets and liabilities are Marital Property and which are Separate Property. Then move on to decide Custody and Support matters.
But in almost every case, the High Asset Divorce is much more complicated because there are many more legal entities involved and of course, the outcomes are magnified.
People with high incomes, large assets and significant net worth have much at stake when considering a divorce. Multiple trusts, a variety of investment portfolios, real estate and other luxury items, business shares, future options – all stand as potential targets in a dissolution proceeding. How does a person with significant assets protect their value? What assets are truly subject to division? Will dissolution result in enormous tax bills, capital losses or other negative financial consequences?
The best protection for any individual with such a level of income or wealth is to plan in advance – thorough premarital financial planning and a detailed prenuptial agreement offer the most security in guarding particular assets and setting clear expectations as to what happens to various assets acquired before marriage and during the marriage.
Assets not protected by a prenuptial agreement can be subject to division if the court deems them marital property. For certain assets, this task can be challenging. Does a wife have an interest in her husband’s medical practice if it existed prior to their marriage? Does a husband have an interest in his wife’s family trusts if they were created after the marriage but by her parents? What about real estate or fine art? None of these questions have easy answers, and only a skilled and experienced attorney with expertise in high asset divorce can properly advise you as to the potential outcomes and methods you can use to minimize financial loss.
An area of major concern tends to be large investment funds at risk of division – will they be liquidated and possibly lose a large share of their value or can the court structure a division that will not destroy the value of the asset or leave it subject to huge taxation? What about stock options or early retirement benefits and other similar type future interests?
An attorney with significant experience working with High Assets Divorces is your best safeguard in preventing you from catastrophic loss.