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Family Law: High Net Worth Divorce

Let a New Jersey High-Net-Worth Divorce Lawyer Protect Your Wealth

For executives, business owners, professionals, investors and other high-net-worth individuals, the financial and property-related aspects of divorce take on heightened importance. New Jersey’s alimony and equitable distribution laws mean that much of your accumulated wealth could be on the table in your divorce. To protect your assets as much as possible, you need a New Jersey high net worth lawyer schooled in these kinds of cases.

Unique Issues in High-Net-Worth and High-Net Income Divorces

While the basic legal issues involved in getting divorced are largely the same regardless of the spouses’ respective incomes and the value of their marital estate, high-net-worth divorces will typically present a number of unique issues that require strategic planning. These issues include:

  • High-Net-Worth Alimony– In New Jersey, alimony is intended to ensure that each spouse can maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the couple’s marriage. For high-net-worth couples, this can easily mean thousands of dollars per month in alimony.
  • Prenuptial Agreements– If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement, (i) is it enforceable; and, (ii) if so, what does it say about alimony and the division of property? While prenuptial agreements can provide critical protections, they can also create uncertainty when they raise questions or leave issues unresolved.
  • Retirement and Investment Accounts– If your retirement and investment accounts are worth millions, you can expect them to take on a central role in the division of your marital property. Determining spouses’ rights to these accounts can be challenging, with pre-marriage contributions, distribution valuations and other factors all potentially coming into play.
  • Physical Assets and Real Property– Almost all divorces involve a distribution of physical assets. Regardless of what constitutes an “equitable” distribution in terms of percentages, how do you decide who gets what? In many cases, high-net-worth individuals will want to keep specific assets such as automobiles, art collections and real estate, and protecting these assets often requires a targeted negotiation (or litigation) strategy with this specific outcome in mind.
  • Business Ownership and Control– In a divorce, privately-held business interests are put into the same category as other tangible and intangible assets. This means that they are subject to division, and this means that divorcing spouses will often face contentious disputes over business ownership, valuation, and control.

Will my to be ex-spouse be entitled to my stock option(s) vested and unvested?

If the option(s) have been granted during the time frame of date of marriage to date of the filing of the divorce complaint, then yes the option(s) are divisible under Equitable Distribution in the final agreement of divorce, and further insured by way of a Trust.  Issues can arise as to what happens to unvested option that mature after the Divorce Judgment, as well as what happens to those options (or their value) if the employed spouse voluntarily leaves that employment or is terminated for cause.

How is Child Support calculated if the net income of both parties is greater than $187,200.00?

The Child Support Guidelines only specify a minimum support level up to but not exceeding $187,200.00 combined net income of the parties, and give no information on how to calculate an appropriate Child Support amount after that level. The Court can then make a decision on the appropriate Child Support amount based upon the child(ren)’s pre-divorce lifestyle, making it more important to present the correct facts to the court so the appropriate child support will be ordered.

Will my spouse be awarded a portion of the business in my name only, when they were only involved in a limited basis with that business?

It can be a disputed fact issue as to what level of involvement, and if that level of involvement contributed to the increase in the business value in determining how much a spouse can receive from that business. It will be mandatory to have the business evaluated by a forensic accountant to place a value on the business. Other issue may also come into play such as a spouse ending their occupation to raise the child(ren), allowing the business owning spouse to grow their business.  

Our divorce lawyers are experienced in representing high-net-worth individuals in all aspects of the divorce process. We are intimately familiar with the complex issues involved in high-net-worth divorces, and we know what strategies have worked to protect our clients’ financial interests in the past. Regardless of the duration of your marriage, whether you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement and any other unique aspects of your marriage, we can help you execute a strategy designed to secure a just and favorable outcome in your high-net-worth divorce.

Speak with an New Jersey High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

If you are anticipating a divorce and would like to speak with a lawyer about protecting your assets, we invite you to schedule an initial consultation. To speak with one of our experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers in confidence, please call 1-877-435-6371 or inquire online today.

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