Fort Lauderdale High-Asset Divorce Attorneys
Smart, Reliable Legal Counsel in Your Corner
No two divorces are exactly the same, just as no two marriages are exactly the same. There are unique aspects to each marriage that requires a careful approach when navigating a divorce proceeding. This is particularly true when the parties have substantial assets that must be distributed.
When the parties own businesses or several real estate properties, there are often complex questions about who has the right to retain the income from the assets. High-income earning spouses often need to hire an entire legal and financial team to analyze assets, investigate hidden types of property, and ascertain the value of business partnerships. Since high-asset divorces raise many of these important issues, it is critical that you seek guidance from an experienced high-asset divorce lawyer so you fully understand your rights and can present a strong case.
At Stok Kon + Braverman, our strong grasp of financial issues allows our dedicated legal team to provide particularly knowledgeable advice to individuals undergoing a high asset divorce. We have guided many people through the divorce process while helping them protect their legal rights and avoid making costly mistakes that could adversely affect their long-term financial situation.
Navigating High-Asset Divorce Proceedings
High-net divorces involve couples that have high income and substantial personal resources. High-asset marital estates also present complicated valuation and tax issues. There are many procedural aspects to divorces and a wide variety of factors and issues that must be considered. Overall, however, the court’s primary goal is to distribute marital property between spouses in an equitable and fair way. In situations in which one of the parties or both parties accumulated substantial wealth during the marriage, this task becomes more complex.
One of the key steps in a high-asset divorce is determining the value of all of the assets involved. This can be a house, a piece of real estate, a car, or a rare piece of artwork, among other examples. Determining the value of an asset may require assistance from experts in specific industries. Although this can lengthen the divorce process, having an appropriate valuation is critically important.
The other party might obtain an expert to testify about the value of an asset, so it is important to do your own investigation to make sure that the valuation is accurate and fair. If the parties’ appraisers disagree about the value of an asset, the court will determine which appraisal is a more accurate valuation of the asset.
It is important to understand the difference between marital property and separate property, also known as non-marital property.
Separate property consists of assets or possessions that one spouse acquired prior to the marriage or obtained during the marriage as a gift or through inheritance. It also includes any property that is defined as separate property through valid agreement, income earned as separate property and not commingled with the marital property, and any items purchased with one’s separate property.
Separate property is owned by one spouse alone and is not subject to division at the time of a divorce. If there is any controversy about whether assets are separate or marital, the individual claiming that they are separate has the burden of showing that they should not be divided.
Marital property is owned by both spouses and is subject to “equitable division” at the time of divorce. Marital property is defined as all assets and debts that either spouse acquired throughout the course of the marriage. It is irrelevant whether the property or debt is only in one person’s name in deciding its status. Marital property can include income, property, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, benefits, insurance policies, personal properties, and more.
If there is a valid pre-nuptial agreement, the court will enforce the terms of that agreement. If there is no prior agreement, or if the agreement is invalid, the judge has the discretion to consider a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s economic position, each spouse’s debts and liabilities, each spouse’s monetary and non-monetary contribution to the marriage, and more.
Child support is another area where wealthy spouses commonly get into disputes. In determining whether one party must pay child support, the court will assess the gross income of each party and their proportional net income. If the husband earns substantially more income each month, for example, the court might determine that the husband must pay child support to the wife. In some situations, the court can also order that the higher-earning spouse pay alimony to the lesser-earning spouse for a period of time. According to Florida law, the judge can also consider each party’s financial ability to pay for reasonable attorneys’ fees and other costs involved with the legal proceeding.
Whether you are currently involved in a divorce proceeding or considering filing for divorce, we are ready to help you explore your legal options and rights. There are many issues to consider, especially when you have substantial assets to protect or are pursuing a late-life divorce. We understand that this aspect of divorce is critical to your future as well as the future of your children, so you can expect the deepest respect and professionalism from our entire team.