Are you in need of a high asset divorce lawyer in Columbus GA? Divorce is often a very challenging process, especially if it involves high net worth couples or business owners. In such instances, the process can be a long and difficult one with unique challenges that require the oversight of experienced legal experts.
A reputable Georgia divorce lawyer at Shrable Law Firm is a highly experienced professional when it comes to legal matters related to high asset divorces. As such, if you are embroiled in a nasty divorce, our attorneys will effectively and aggressively advocate for your rights to ensure the justice you deserve is served. Give us a call today and schedule a consultation.
Table of Contents
What Are Some of the Common Issues Addressed During a High Asset Divorce?
It is common for individuals with extremely high net worth’s to be faced with suits filed by former spouses or soon-to-be-former spouses seeking permanent and extremely high alimony payments. In most of these cases, it is the spouse with the ability and capacity to provide ongoing financial support that tends to receive a request for potentially-indefinite and extremely high alimony payments.
Most of the time, it is hard to determine the exact value of all the assets involved during a high asset divorce. Accounts like a retirement or pension account, whose value is dependent on future situations that are generally hard to determine, or a money market account, whose value changes depending on the unpredictability of the markets, make it very hard to reach an agreement. This is why most of these cases tend to lead to long, protracted legal battles as both parties try to determine what the assets in questions are worth – and that’s before getting into how they are going to be divided equally between the two.
How is the Value of the Assets in Question Determined?
The process of identifying and appraising assets in high net worth divorces is very similar to that of typical divorce cases. However, with high net worth cases, the issue is that the assets tend to have fluctuating values, something that makes the process a bit more complicated. Such cases will typically require the services of a financial expert to help identify which of the assets in dispute are marital and to determine their accurate valuation.
If some of the assets are shares in a business, the business will have to be valued. The business’ future profit flow might have to be considered, and the organization’s assets will have to be evaluated. Most high asset divorce cases in Columbus are incredibly complicated, but they aren’t that different from regular divorce cases. The only significant difference between the two is the amount of money and time required for the case to proceed.
Some of the Issues that Affect High Asset Divorce Cases?
High net worth divorces are typically multi-faceted and are consisted of more variables than standard ones. They are very complex and generally require professional and experienced lawyering for the right results to be achieved. Our team of knowledgeable lawyers has handled many different divorce cases involving the following issues:
Assets, Professional Practice, or Business Ownership
In most cases, wealth is directly linked to assets, a business, or business interests – all of which need to be valued. Our law firm knows and has worked with various experts that can help accurately determine the value of your assets. In many instances, the success of a case is determined by the opinion of an expert. We’ve carefully chosen and worked with some of the best experts in the industry – these are professionals who we’ve worked with before and have seen present watertight cases that weaken the arguments of opposing parties’ experts.
At the Shrable Law Firm, we make use of expert tracing and forensic research techniques to accurately determine the financial history and holdings of both parties. Apart from precisely defining the extent of the property in question, we also determine the property’s character, i.e., whether it is a separate or community property.
Legal, Accounting, Tax, and Financing Issues
Any lawyer handling a high net worth divorce should be able well experienced to detect a range of tax, accounting, finance, and legal issues. Such issues tend to play a major role in real estate, benefit plans, high-value collections, business entities, amongst other material and immaterial property (see below for further breakdown.) The team of experts at the Shrable Law Firm are experienced professionals ready to prepare your case and represent you in a court of law.
Examples of Tangible Assets:
- Account receivables
Examples of Intangible Assets:
- Business relationships
- Business development in progress
- Product development ability
- Unique skills
- Et. Al.
Commonly Disputed Valuables in High Asset Divorce Cases
- Art collections
- Real estate
- Cars, planes, boats, and other vehicles
- Vacation property
- Professional or business practices
- Insurance policies
- Retirement benefits and pension plans
Some of the parties involved in such divorce cases have investment interests or assets that are located or owned in another state or even abroad. In such instances, it’s vital that you work with a lawyer who’s well aware of the implications of debt distribution and alternative property scenarios so as to reach an affordable outcome.
Spousal Maintenance (Alimony/Support)
Considerable alimony is often one of the main things litigated or negotiated during a high asset divorce case.
High-risk exposure can sometimes be an issue if both or one party engages in a combative, excessive, and dramatic discovery, mediation, negotiation, and, or, litigation. The good thing is that there are techniques and tools available that can be used to preserve privacy and minimize unwanted public attention.
How Can I Know What My Spouse Makes?
In most cases, one or both spouses will not reveal to their significant other how much they really earn, with some even taking steps to ensure they hide their assets. For instance, one of the spouses could be a partner in a business with the other, but they hide assets from them or have requested raise/bonus to ensure this new income doesn’t get included in the settlement.
If you are in such a situation, there are a couple of steps that you could take to discover/uncover hidden assets before your divorce case start. Look for and make copies of all the pay stubs, tax returns, and bank account statements you can find. Also, remember to document your lifestyle before the divorce. Work with a forensic accountant and a divorce lawyer to uncover all hidden assets. Some assets could be hidden with friends, employers, or even family members in the forms of office furniture, undervalued artwork, custodial accounts, municipal bonds, and other things.
How are Family Partnerships Divided?
If you are getting a divorce, but both of you own a together, dividing the debts and assets of that business very hard. You will have to start by determining the business’ worth through an evaluation. What was the company’s controllable cash flow? Does the business owe other people? What was the business’ real estate value?
Once you’ve determined that, both of you will have to decide what happens to the business. Does your spouse want to keep it and is thinking of buying out, or do you plan on liquidating the company? Whatever the case, our attorneys at the Shrable Law Firm are experienced in the dissolution of businesses and can help ensure that you get your fair share of your business assets.
Retirement Accounts: How are They Divided During a High Asset Divorce?
Retirement and pension accounts are divided pretty much the same as high asset and low asset divorces. In such instances, the court will have to make a QDRO or Qualified Domestic Relations Order that explain the amount each spouse will receive from the retirement account, when they will receive it, and how they will receive it.
Dividing a retirement plan can sometimes be more complicated, especially when considering if pensions are being vested and how the earner was paid (i.e., incentives, wages, or products.)
Important Financial Details To Be Focused On During a High Asset Divorce?
Business Evaluation and Division
Accurately determining the value of a family business is quite complex and is essential in ensuring that the properties and assets in question are divided equally during a settlement. To ensure this happens, it is essential that you have an industry expert help you determine the exact value of all your company shares and evaluate all the tax implications that come with dividing an entity such as a business.
Limiting Tax Liability Strategies
Dividing a business’s shares, investments, and properties come with various tax implications. If there are any negative tax implications, we will inform you beforehand and will help you limit these liabilities through professional tax planning and analysis.
Real Estate Division
The division of properties in high asset divorce cases can have dire consequences. To get things right, it is essential that appraisals are done accurately and that the analysis of ongoing implications like real estate taxes and any improvements or repairs is thorough. Marital homes are normally divided equally, something that often calls for the couples to sell the property and splitting the amount or one of the spouses staying in the property and buying the other one out. Rental properties and vacation homes are generally treated differently and normally require expert guidance for the protection of your rights.
Separate Property Holdings
Properties that either party came into the union with or that are deemed as separate entities by nature such as inheritances or gifts are excluded from the property division and marital assets settlement.
Pensions, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, and Retirements
Pension benefits that are earned during the marriage are often considered joint assets. As such, how long you have been married could affect your rights to pension benefits. Make sure you consult an experienced high asset divorce attorney for direction regarding the issuance of a QRDO, which recognizes the joint ownership of a retirement account and the benefits the former spouse is entitled to and the proper calculation of your pension.
Stocks, 401(k), Profit Sharing Plans and IRAs
When stock investments are being divided, make sure you consider the overall number of shares instead of the dollar value as this is generally affected by market fluctuations.
Does Co-mingling Have any Impact on Assets?
Several issues crop up with co-mingling if the other party had access to your accounts when determining marital property and separate property. In such instances, the properties in question will have to be evaluated and equally divided. In essence, the more the assets being fought over, the more complex the case and the long the division of assets in question will be. This is especially true if both or one party has the resources to enable them to continue paying the attorney fighting for the division of said assets.
Speak to a High Asset Divorce Lawyer in Columbus GA Today
Call (762) 821-0051 now or fill out this online form and schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys to discuss your case.