High net worth couples seeking a divorce have more to consider than lower-income couples. While there is no hard and fast rule about what defines someone as high net worth, it is generally accepted that a person or couple with liquid assets of at least $1 million are high net worth. Since there is more to lose, especially if there is no prenuptial agreement, it is crucial to have an attorney experienced in this type of divorce.
Special Considerations in a High Net Worth Divorce
- Asset Identification – The first step in dividing property, is identifying which assets each of you owned before the marriage (separate property) and what was acquired during the marriage (marital property.) Only marital property is eligible for distribution and issues arise when property is commingled, as it often is.
- Property Division – For high net worth couples, dividing property is tricky since there is typically more property to divide, including multiple homes, cars, land, 401Ks, pension plans, and more.
- Investments – Investments are a marital asset unless one partner owned them before the marriage or gained them via inheritance or gift. At The Doyle Law Group, we can ensure that your investments are protected or divided evenly.
- Alimony or Spousal Support – Many couples are concerned with spousal support, but it becomes a special concern for high net worth couples because often one spouse makes significantly more than the other.
- Business Ownership – Many high net worth couples run a business together. When they divorce, business ownership naturally becomes a topic of debate in the proceedings.
- Child Custody and Child Support – A common misconception in divorce is that the wealthier parent gets full custody. While that may have been true at one time, more courts are working toward true 50/50 custody, even if one spouse earns significantly more than the other.
- Estate Planning – If you and your spouse had an estate plan while married, you will likely want to revise it during the divorce.
- Forensic Accounting – Forensic accounting simply refers to the act of uncovering assets that may not have been disclosed by your spouse. If you suspect your soon-to-be former spouse has accounts or assets they are hiding, a forensic accountant can help bring them to light. Hiding assets carries criminal charges and is never a good idea.
- Tax Considerations – Division of property, whether it is selling or becoming the sole owner, and spousal support have tax implications for both parties after a divorce. It is important to understand these issues so there are no surprises at tax time.
If you and/or your partner are high net worth, consider collaborative or mediated divorce. Working with your soon-to-be-ex spouse will result in more favorable outcomes for both of you, not to mention keeping stress levels lower than traditional divorce.
Consult with a High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer
When this much is at stake, you need an attorney experienced with high net worth couples. At the Doyle Law Group in Raleigh, we have over 20 years of experience getting clients the divorce settlements they deserve. Call us at (919) 301-8843 or fill out the contact form below to schedule your consultation.
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