Ask a Divorce Attorney – High Net Worth Divorce
Special Issues in California High Asset Divorce Cases
High asset divorces in California often involve many issues not seen in your average divorce. Some common issues seen in high asset divorces that are uncommon to other divorce cases are:
Ascertaining Income Available for Child and Spousal Support.
High asset divorce cases generally involve high income individuals. Much of the time the party with greater earning ability (the one that will be paying child and/or spousal support) is self employed and financially savvy. More often than not when the higher earner discovers the level of financial support that he or she may have to pay, that person will attempt to limit his exposure by to paying support with creative accounting. It is the job of a skilled divorce lawyer to get a clear picture of that party’s true income so that support orders can be made that reflect the actual circumstances of the parties. This process often involves employing the discovery process in order to seek and obtain the documents and information necessary to prove income level.
Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements.
Although prenuptial agreements are becoming increasingly more common, currently prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are more often seen in high asset cases for obvious reasons.
Separate Property Claims.
In cases involving parties entering a marriage with substantial pre-marital wealth, the longer the marriage, the greater the likelihood that the separate wealth brought into the marriage will be mixed (commingled) with assets acquired after marriage. Commingling can happen in a variety of ways and can often become a nightmare in the event of a divorce for the party seeking separate property credit to prove the claim. In fact, the starting legal presumption is that every asset acquired during the marriage is community property subject to 50/50 division. It is the affirmative burden of the party claiming a separate property right to trace the separate property out of the property acquired during the marriage. We also see separate property claims involving substantial gifts from relatives as well as inheritances.
Valuation and Division of Business Interests.
We see many high asset divorce cases that involve valuable business interests (both community and separate). Whether it be a small closely held business, minority interest in a partnership, or ownership of a professional practice, the valuation, determination and division of the community interest in a business, if mishandled, can result in gross inequity to the party on the losing end.
If you own a valuable business and are looking at the possibility of divorce, you absolutely need competent representation and good, sound and honest counsel. Attorney John Griffith handles our litigated high asset cases and has had great success both in and out of the courtroom for his high asset divorce clients. Many family law attorneys see nothing but dollar signs when a wealthy potential client walks in the door. We see more value in providing honest and efficient representation and earning our money from happy and satisfied client referrals. Call for a free consultation to see if we are the right fit for you. 858-345-1720.
For more information on High Asset Property Division click here
For a great article on the division of real estate during a divorce click here