Los Angeles High-Net Worth Divorce Attorney

Complex Property Division Disputes

Do you and your spouse carry significant financial investments and assets? Do you own numerous real estate holdings, have a diverse stock and bond portfolio, and share interests in business enterprises? If so, filing for a divorce can be the first step in a complicated process. You’ll need the help of an experienced Los Angeles high net worth divorce attorney. The right attorneys will help you identify what you want to and deserve to get out of your divorce and fight to protect your financial interests.

There is so much more at stake in a high net worth divorce. It’s also a great deal easier to make errors that can affect you for the rest of your life. It’s critical for you to have the help of an attorney who has an understanding of how to approach and handle the most convoluted financial matters. A good Certified Family Law Specialist can help you to navigate complex property division disputes based on a great deal of experience. He or she will be dedicated to protecting your rights and securing the outcome you want. Call today to schedule your free consultation to learn more.

Identifying and Classifying Separate and Community  Property in a High Net Worth divorce

During a high net worth divorce, it is important to make certain that all property interests are disclosed by each spouse. At the time that you file for divorce, you will be asked to include a list of all property and debts. This should include any and all separate property that you own individually, in addition to any property that you own jointly with your spouse.

In the state of California, separate property refers in general to assets and debts that you held individually from before the marriage (that is, those items that you did not convert to community property in marriage). Community property, on the other hand, speaks of assets and debts obtained by either spouse after the wedding. The property list may include income, jointly owned business enterprise or interests, investment accounts, retirement benefits, and more. Generally speaking, everything that either spouse acquires inside the confines of a marriage is classified as community property.

It’s critical to be aware of the distinction between separate property and community property. At times, the proper classification of certain assets or debts can come into question. When high-value assets are on the table, spouses often fiercely disagree over the appropriate classification. As a rule, spouses share an equal interest in every asset and debt that is deemed to be community property. A spouse who is not willing to share a particular asset may fight vehemently to have that asset categorized on the separate property list. It’s important for you to have the assistance and guidance of an attorney who comprehends the complexities of California property division requirements. Making certain that all of your assets get classified correctly is the first step in achieving the outcome you desire from your high net worth divorce.

Why High Net Worth Divorces Are So Complicated

In actuality, any divorce can become complicated. Before a divorce can be finalized, spouses have to find a way to see eye to eye on a multitude of issues, including the custody of their child or children, child support payments, and spousal support.  Both spouses also need to figure out how to split up their marital assets. The splitting up of assets can be difficult even when spouses don’t have a lot of assets to their name. In situations where you and your spouse have significant interests and assets, coming to an agreement on how those assets should be divided can become that much more stressful.

The problem is not just that you possess assets that are high in value.  Often, trouble occurs in that you jointly possess assets that can be difficult to liquidate and/or value. Unless you signed a prenuptial agreement that already laid out how your assets are to be divided in the event of a divorce, each spouse is entitled to half of all the marital property. Assigning a value to those assets can be half the battle.

Property interests that make a high net worth divorce more complex include:

  • Ownership interests in non-family businesses
  • Partnership interests
  • Commercial and/or residential real estate
  • Family business interests
  • Investments
  • Offshore accounts
  • Retirement benefits (e.g., Pensions, IRAs, 401(k) plans, profit sharing, stock options)
  • Inheritance
  • Trusts
  • Intellectual property (e.g., patents)
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Orders
  • Family houses, vehicles, and boats, and
  • Other high-value assets, such as art.

The single best way to make sure that your assets are valued properly is by enlisting the assistance of reputable financial experts and advisors. The right Los Angeles high-net worth divorce attorney should have established relationships and contacts with some of the top forensic accountants and financial advisors in the greater Los Angeles area. Your attorney will work closely with these experts to analyze, audit, and assess all of your property interests.

Maintaining Your Customary Standard of Living After a High Net Worth divorce

If you and your spouse possessed considerable assets, you probably lived a rather comfortable lifestyle. Upon getting a divorce, you have a right to maintain the standard of living to which you became accustomed during the marriage. If you are the spouse who is the higher earner, then it won’t be difficult for you to sustain your lifestyle. On the other hand, if you earn significantly less than your spouse, you might suddenly find that it is challenging to sustain your standard of living. In these situations, spousal support can be awarded to help you adjust to life as a newly single person.

Spousal support may be awarded in any situation where there are discrepancies between each spouse’s income and financial needs. For the most part, if one spouse brings in less money than the other, then they can request and secure a spousal support payment. This is a fact even if the lower earning spouse continues to earn a significant amount of money or has substantial financial interests of his or her own. The truth is that such interests just may not be enough to allow that spouse to carry on living the lavish life they enjoyed before divorce.

Spousal support is calculated by way of a variety of factors.  These factors include income, assets, ability to earn money, health, and financial requirements. It can be awarded either temporarily or more permanently. In general, the longer the marriage was, the longer a spouse can expect to get alimony payments. Those payments, nonetheless, will no longer be available if the receiving spouse remarries or becomes capable of supporting themselves without help.

In cases with a high-net worth divorce, you have even trickier legal matters that you will have to navigate. For some cases, one spouse may have signed a pre-nuptial agreement, but these agreements don’t protect people 100 percent of the time. It depends on the state and the circumstances on whether it will protect the person.

What Adds to the Complexity?

One of the most difficult things about a high-net worth divorce comes from how these individuals will sometimes jointly own stocks, businesses, real estate and other types of assets. That can make the division of the assets more difficult. The more assets a person has, the more difficult it can be to divide them. In some cases, one person might have alternative forms of income. For example, they might have trust funds, executive compensation packages or oil and gas royalties that the divorce courts have to look at.

Don’t Wait: Plan!

No one gets married with the intentions of getting divorced, but you have cases where the two can’t get along. They fight all the time and struggle to make things work. Eventually, they can’t manage to stay together and divorce because of the conflicts. Divorce can change a person’s life in ways that they had never planned for, which is why if they prepare for it as a possibility, it can save them a lot of heartache. That’s not to say that it will happen, but like an insurance plan, people don’t plan for house fires. That said, insurance is nice to have when a fire breaks out because it offers peace of mind.

Never Hide Your Assets

As divorce lawyers, we must implore you to never hide your assets in a divorce case. It doesn’t go well. In some cases, people have even been criminally prosecuted for hiding assets, and in cases with a high-net worth, that is likely to happen. You want to remain upfront. We see it day in and day out where divorces can get emotionally and mentally messy. You need to remain upfront because at worst, you can wind up spending time in jail. At best, the divorce courts will look down on this action, and they will rule in favor of the other person. That is why you have to keep everything upfront. Don’t get emotional. Don’t hide anything.

Cases That Last Longer

Because of the higher net worth and greater assets, it typically takes longer for the divorce to go through. It can take six weeks on the lower end for regular divorces, but with high-net worth divorces, it can take up to 12 months. Not only that, but these cases will usually cost more than with a regular case. You have to remain prepared on all fronts and take active measures to protect yourself.

Follow Court Orders

You can greatly harm your divorce case if you don’t follow court orders. Courts often view this as obstructive and malicious behavior. To follow court orders, it means that you have to pay for spousal support and follow the other terms within the injunction orders. You can mortally wound your case and put the ball in the other person’s court if you don’t follow through with all the court orders.

Special Considerations

With a high-net worth divorce, it will often involve special considerations for the distribution of wealth. The ultimate goal in a divorce is to arrive at a fair conclusion, but this doesn’t always happen as many divorcees will attest. In cases where families were enjoying a high standard of living, they will take this into account when computing the divorce case. Usually, this means that they will be more generous to be fair.

In cases with high-net worth divorce cases, the other problem comes from how people like this will often live international lifestyles. This can add to the difficulties, and you need to have a good lawyer on hand to help with cases like this. If you or your spouse has connections with multiple jurisdiction, you need to leap into action immediately. Which jurisdiction they decide on can have a big impact on the overall case because the laws can differ from one jurisdiction to the next. Don’t wait! Call LA Divorce Lawyers today.