How is a High-Net-Worth Divorce Different Than a Regular Divorce?
Divorces are rarely simple, even at the best of times. When the parties involved have a significantly high net worth, divorce proceedings can become even more complex and contentious. For a variety of reasons, high-asset divorces are likely to take more time and effort and require additional knowledge and expertise as compared to a standard divorce. Continue reading for a discussion of just a few of the ways high-net-worth divorces are different from regular divorces. If you are facing the prospect of divorce, regardless of the net worth of your household, you can benefit from retaining a seasoned, knowledgeable, and effective New Jersey divorce attorney.
Complex Asset Valuation – Businesses, Degrees
Low-income divorces tend to have simple, easily-divisible assets: bank accounts, personal property, and maybe the family home. High-net-worth divorces tend to have a wider range of assets and more assets that can be particularly complex to value and apportion. The couple may own a business or may share ownership interest in a variety of companies. There may be more complex securities involved, such as stock options or CDOs. One or both parties may have obtained an advanced degree during the marriage, which could factor into property division or even a determination of alimony. Valuing these assets may require accountants, actuaries, and other financial professionals, in addition to an attorney who knows how to deal with these sorts of complex issues.
Longer, More Expensive Divorce
For all the reasons we discuss here, high-asset divorces are, on average, lengthier and more complex. Unless the parties come to a complete agreement in mediation or settlement negotiations, there are likely to be difficult questions of valuation as well as issues concerning the value each party contributed to the marriage or the claim they have to complex assets, and many other issues. With more money on the line, more litigation can be expected.
Insurance, Retirement Accounts, and Other Long-term Assets
In addition to assets that are hard to value, high-asset divorces also are more likely to involve assets that mature down the line. Retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other long-term assets can wind up causing particular contention between the parties, leading to a more heated, lengthy dispute.
Divorce, unfortunately, can bring out the worst in people. High-net-worth divorces involve more assets that can, by their nature, be concealed in divorce filings. One or both parties may have offshore accounts, properties kept off the family books, or assets that have been parked with friends or tangled up in corporations that are hard to divine. Hiding assets protects them from division and allows parties to claim lower income and worth for the sake of alimony and child support. A seasoned high-asset divorce attorney, with assistance from appropriate financial experts and investigators, can help you keep your spouse honest and ensure all appropriate assets are included in the divorce proceedings.
Finally, high net-worth divorces are more likely to involve managing the public and the press. This is especially true if the parties are athletes, entertainers, politicians, business moguls, or other public figures. A savvy high-asset divorce attorney can not only help protect your assets and interests in a high-asset divorce but also ensure that the prying eyes of the public do not interrupt the proceedings or cause personal or professional embarrassment.
Trusted Advice and Representation for Your New Jersey Divorce
If you are dealing with divorce, child custody, visitation, or other family law issues in New Jersey, speak with the experienced and passionate family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro. Call us today at 908-964-0102.