When a couple going through a divorce has a high monetary value, their divorce is considered high-net worth. High net worth divorces still use the same legal principles and follow the same proceedings as divorces that are not high net worth. However, this is a more complicated process that requires the help of an experienced high net worth divorce lawyer. There are several issues that are normally seen in high net worth divorce cases including spousal support and division of assets.
The one thing that the majority of high net worth divorce cases have in common is that one spouse is financially dependent on the other. If this sounds like your case, the spouse who is dependent may seek spousal support to meet their needs following the end of a marriage. Spousal support is commonly referred to as alimony in court. The time period and amount that the dependent spouse may receive shall be determined by either a court order or through an agreement.
Every state has different laws and regulations regarding spousal support. In some states, spousal support is not an automatic right. However, if a spouse wants to go after spousal support, he or she must prove that they are eligible. If a dependent spouse must prove their eligibility to obtain spousal support to the state, they must have been married at least 10 years. The spouse may also have a disability or the spouse must be caring for a disabled child of the marriage.
If the dependent spouse meets the requirements, the court will then order an amount that is 20% of the paying spouse’s monthly gross income or $5000, whichever is less. However, it is also possible that the spouses that are seeking a divorce come to an agreement on their own on spousal maintenance. This means the two can put together a contractual obligation that states that a certain amount will be paid in excess of the statutory limit a judge could order. If you go after spousal support that exceeds $5,000 a month, you can communicate this with your attorney to find how you both can come to an agreement on contractual alimony.
In divorce proceedings, all assets that are owned by the couple must be divided. In order to begin this process, you must first determine whether the property is considered separate property or community property. Any property that was purchased prior to your marriage, or was inherited is considered the separate property of the spouse who owned it. Property owned by both divorcing spouses is considered community property unless proven otherwise. Each spouse will be entitled to their separate property following the divorce.
The next step would be to divide the community property assets. This process is done by what is just and right, so it depends on a variety of favors. The custody of minor children, the respective rights of each spouse, and fault in the breakup of marriage such as criminal activity, adultery, or abuse.
Financial experts are typically involved to help divide assets in high net worth divorces. Every asset must be given a value. Each spouse must also show their bank statements and divide their accounts accordingly. This can be a very difficult process if the couple’s marital estate has high value or consists of other assets besides money.
This is why an attorney is needed. He or she will be able to advise the spouses on legal consequences that may result from dividing property. Your attorney will also be able to classify each asset as either separate or community. Experienced divorce attorneys in high net worth divorces have the knowledge and relationships with necessary experts. For example, a business valuation expert may be called in to analyze the worth of a business as well as the business interests of each party.