High Net Worth Divorce Lawyers in Auburn
While no divorce is easy, there are some that are more challenging and divisive than others. A couple with minimal assets, no debt, and no children can often split amicably and leave with whatever they brought into the marriage. However, couples who have significant assets sometimes have a much more difficult time negotiating the terms and conditions of their divorce.
High net worth divorces involve issues and challenges that most couples never encounter. If you are facing a high asset divorce, you need a legal team with extensive experience and knowledge in this area of law. Learn more about your divorce options now by calling Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short at 334-821-3892.
Challenges in High-Asset Divorces
The more money involved in a divorce, the harder both sides are going to fight to protect their rights and their future. This is why a simple divorce with no assets or debt can usually be settled in a matter of weeks, while high-asset divorces can take months or in some rare cases years to negotiate.
Some of the issues you may have to deal with in a high net worth divorce include:
- Asset valuation. Couples with a high net worth often have their wealth tied up in numerous assets, including retirement accounts, rental properties, multiple homes, and specialty items. Properly assessing each of these assets and deciding how to split them up can take an enormous amount of time and energy.
- Custody battles. While child custody is a touchy subject in any divorce, but it can be even more challenging when the couple has significant assets.
- More extensive child support needs. Children of high net worth couples often have significant financial needs, from private school and expensive extracurricular activities to travel and trust funds. No matter how custody is divided, there will likely be significant child support involved.
- Unusual assets. Unusual assets, including offshore accounts, niche specialty items, and trust funds can further complicate a high net worth divorce.
- Many people with significant assets have reached this level of success by owning their own businesses. Depending on the allocation of assets, both parties may be entitled to part of the business. This throws another complication into the negotiation process one party may want to retain full ownership.
- Significant disparities in income. In many high net worth divorces, there is a large difference in income. In some cases, one spouse stays home with the children while the other works. The spouse who does not work outside the home does not want to lose the lifestyle they are used to, but the working spouse may not want to pay for their ex-partner’s lifestyle. This can lead to a stalemate where neither party is willing to compromise.
The Valuation and Division of Assets
In a high net worth divorce, proper valuation of assets is key before assets can be fairly divided. This can be a time-consuming process as you need a specialized assessor for each type of asset. Trying to rush this process or allowing one assessor to valuate everything can lead to serious errors that cost one or both partners a significant amount of money.
Once assets have been assessed, they can be divided. Alabama is an equitable distribution state, which means that assets must be divided fairly. This is different from an equal split in which each partner gets half of the assets. Equitable distribution looks at a number of factors, including each partner’s earning potential, current income, level of education, health, other assets, and role in the end of the marriage.
Child Support and Spousal Support
These are some of the most hotly disputed issues in high net worth divorces. Due to the lifestyles enjoyed by those in high-asset marriages, significant child support and spousal support is often awarded after a divorce. The goal of the court is to allow children to enjoy the same quality of life they enjoyed prior to the divorce, which often means that the custodial parent receives child support.
The lower-earning spouse may also have a right to spousal support. This is particularly true if they made sacrifices for their ex-partner’s career, such as giving up their own career, staying home to raise children, or staying home to care for the household as their spouse’s career became more demanding. Spousal support often depends on the length of the marriage, income disparities, sacrifices made by each party, and the earning potential of each individual.
Getting Strong Legal Representation for a High Asset Divorce
If you are facing divorce and you have a substantial amount of money tied up in assets, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Any delay in a divorce case can cost you time and money, but the danger is particularly high for those with a high net worth. Without an experienced family law attorney on your side, your retirement accounts, business ownership, future earnings, real estate, or other assets could all be at stake.
When one party has an attorney and the other doesn’t, the side without an attorney has a lot to lose. Assume that your ex-partner will retain legal representation and plan to do the same.
Beyond the financial issues of a divorce, you also want to fight for your right to parent your children. The end of a marriage does not mean the end of a co-parenting relationship, and your attorney can advocate aggressively on your behalf while still trying to preserve the co-parenting relationship for your children’s benefit. This allows you to look to the future and start planning for the next chapter in your life while leaving the complex legal matters for your attorney to handle.
Turn to Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short Today
High net worth divorces are often complicated, but with the right legal team, you can rest easy and look forward to the next stage in your life. The team at Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short is here for you. To learn more about your options and set up a consultation, get in touch with us online or call our office today at 334-821-3892.