Divorces already have the potential to be complex and highly contentious, and when couples have high assets, it can worsen this. Division of property during divorce becomes much longer and more complicated with a greater number of assets and higher net worth. Your Upland divorce needs experienced and qualified legal representation in order to lessen the stress and ensure things are done correctly. You want to be sure you protect your wealth throughout the divorce process.
The Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires Can Represent Your Interests
You need a divorce attorney who has the experience and understanding of what makes a high-net-worth divorce different from most divorces. The Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires has decades of experience with family law and divorce law and can guide you through the complexities of a high-net-worth divorce. Divorces are always going to be hard and stressful, but the counsel of a skilled divorce attorney can lessen the burden on you. We work with you every step of the way, advocating for your best interests and working for the best possible outcome to your divorce. We ensure that our approach to your case is completely tailored to your individual needs and supports you with all aspects of your divorce, looking for what is best for you and your Upland, CA family.
What Qualifies as a High-Net-Worth Divorce?
Commonly, a divorce is considered a high net worth divorce when you and your spouse have over $1 million in assets. Often, a couple has a significantly greater amount of assets. Assets may include:
- Stocks, bonds, and investments
- Real estate and properties
- Cars and other vehicles, such as watercraft
- 401(k) and IRA
- Shared companies
- Life insurance
- Business investments
- Retirement accounts and pensions
- Art, jewelry, or other high-value items
- Intellectual property, such as trademarks, patents, and copyrights
- Other benefits
Having a large number of assets affects the divorce process and can make it more stressful. Both parties have a lot at stake financially, and high net worth complicates several aspects of the divorce. Legal advocacy will help protect your wealth and your best interests.
How High-Net-Worth Impacts Your Divorce
A high-asset divorce has the same aspects as any divorce, including spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support. The most impacted aspect of divorce is the division of property and assets, followed by the financial aspects of child and spousal support.
California is a community property state. This means that property gained during a marriage is considered the property of both parties, and a divorce entitles each spouse to half their shared property. When you have large amounts of assets, the process of splitting assets takes much longer and is often more contentious. The complexity and length of time also mean that it’s more expensive to handle and requires more third parties.
How Is Property Valued in a Divorce?
It’s important when getting a high-asset divorce to ensure that your property is valued accurately. It’s in your best interests to know the value of your assets so that you don’t end up with less than half of the shared property. An experienced attorney can help value property and protect your interests during property division.
Other asset division complications from a high-asset divorce include:
- Distributing and valuing assets such as properties, artwork, vehicles, and other assets that you both have a financial and emotional investment in
- Determining how to assign savings and trusts that are meant for you and your spouse’s children
- Dividing investment portfolios
- Ensuring that family heirlooms are protected
- Deciding how to handle assets from before the marriage which gained value throughout the length of the marriage
Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements can be more common in high-asset divorces. If you are someone who isn’t married yet and wants to protect your wealth in the event of divorce, a prenuptial agreement can outline what will be done with assets. This can make divorce faster and less cumbersome and also protect your assets. These agreements may impact how property is separated in your divorce. Depending on the terms of the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, certain assets may be considered individual property, even if they were accrued during your marriage.
Do I Need an Attorney for a High Net Worth Divorce?
It’s inadvisable to handle your high net worth divorce by yourself. Business and asset valuation is complex, and any inaccuracies could mean you end up with less than half after property division or lose out on your share of the wealth in other ways. Dividing property is a long and drawn-out process, and will only be made longer if you or your spouse don’t have legal representation.
If you enter negotiations or litigation without a high-net-worth divorce attorney, but your spouse has legal advocacy, you are placing yourself at a severe disadvantage. Not only will you have to advocate for your best interests and needs without the necessary knowledge, but you’ll also be negotiating with someone who has full knowledge of divorce and family law.
In high-net-worth divorces, it’s not uncommon for spouses with a contentious relationship to hide assets. This may be out of spite, for financial gain, or for another reason. Collecting financial information about your spouse is wise, even if you don’t believe them to be hiding assets. An experienced family lawyer has the connections necessary to gather financial information and determine if your spouse is hiding assets from the property division.
Spousal Support in a High-Net-Worth Divorce
A high net worth divorce affects other financial aspects of a divorce, such as spousal support. If you earned much more than your spouse, you’re likely very worried about paying too much for spousal support. Spousal support is most often a monthly payment and occasionally a lump sum payment from one ex-partner to the other. The goal of spousal support is to enable both spouses to live at the same standard as they would have if they were still married. Spousal support is usually awarded if one spouse has significantly more income than the other.
Temporary spousal support, which is ordered by the court before and during divorce proceedings, follows a formula. However, in a high-net-worth divorce, the usual avenues you could use to calculate temporary spousal support are less accurate. For many high-asset individuals, determining your income for the purpose of calculating temporary support can be complex.
Permanent spousal support is ordered after court proceedings. It’s based on several factors and other essential information, including:
- Each spouse’s income
- The age and health of both spouses
- If one spouse had less career growth due to staying home and raising children
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage
- The education, training, skills, and employability of the lower-earning spouse
- The standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage
Depending on the circumstances of your marriage and divorce, the outcome of how much permanent spousal support you pay will vary. It’s helpful to have legal counsel to navigate this process and limit the amount of support you’ll need to pay. If you are in a high-asset divorce where you earned less than your spouse, working with legal representation will help you keep the same standard of living you’re used to.
Child Support in a High-Net-Worth Divorce
Child support is another financial matter in divorce that is affected in high-asset divorces. Though California has the formula to determine child support, those calculations are not designed to work with high income.
If one or both parents have a high income, then California’s Child Support Guidelines will be inaccurate, and standard child support is unlikely to cover the standard of living your children are used to. Extraordinary expenses include private lessons, traveling sports, extracurriculars, tutoring, and other luxuries.
To cover extraordinary expenses, parents have flexibility in determining child support payments. You can use other means, such as trusts and savings, to provide for your children’s needs. You and your spouse can work together for the best interests of your children, and assistance from legal counsel can help planning to go smoothly.
Planning For a High-Asset Upland Divorce
When you’re faced with a high-asset divorce, an important step is being prepared to compromise and work cooperatively towards creative solutions. This isn’t possible for every divorce, but if you and your spouse are able to help achieve specific goals, the divorce process will be less complex and will lead to more favorable outcomes.
Protect Your Interests and Assets with the Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires
As you plan your high-asset divorce, you’ll want to contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires. We can come up with a plan to protect your interests, determine where you’re willing to compromise and settle, where you’re unwilling to settle, and how you hope to prioritize your assets. Our firm aims for honesty and effective representation that utilizes our connections to bring you the best outcome for your high-asset divorce. You need an Upland divorce attorney who will work closely with you and give your case the personalized attention you need. The Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires wants to protect your best interests and protect your assets during the difficult process of divorce.