Going through a divorce involves figuring out the best way to manage a number of different facets. There is property to be divided between the two spouses, as well as property that is considered exempt from post-divorce redistribution. A range of financial issues must be worked out, including spousal maintenance. If the spouses have minors in the household, things can become exponentially more complex, as the divorcing couple must determine legal and physical custody arrangements or, if they cannot reach an agreement, take the matter before a judge.
This can be an exhausting process for any couple. But for high net worth individuals, divorce negotiations are often far more intricate and convoluted.
Certainly it is true that high-income/or net-worth people face more or less the same general types of issues as everyone else when going through divorce proceedings—i.e., which spouse gets what assets, and who will have custody of the children. It is also true, however, that these individuals usually command a much larger array of possessions: They may have multiple homes and properties (sometimes overseas), multiple bank accounts, stock portfolios, stock options, retirement accounts, trust funds, and various other possessions. Sorting through these assets can be a thorny process, and you need a high-income divorce lawyer who has specific experience with these matters.
Types of Property
The courts will analyze all these assets with the aim of determining which should be classified as marital property (belonging to the couple) and which should be classified as separate property (belonging to the individual). As a general rule of thumb, marital property is that which was obtained during the marriage, including property that was purchased by only one spouse. Only marital property is subject to court-ordered redistribution; separate property cannot be touched. It is important to ensure that the courts do not mistakenly classify your separate property as marital property. Our high-income divorce lawyers will help you understand the nature and characteristics of your property.
Real estate holdings, must be properly evaluated by the courts. This can be a tricky process, as real estate valuations change over time. We’ll fight to ensure that the courts apply reasonable standards when applying a price tag to your properties. By the same token, any businesses you own will usually be appraised as well.
Post-divorce tax consequences are another matter that can be especially tricky for high-income individuals. It is likely that your tax situation will change dramatically in the aftermath of a divorce, and any division of assets should take this into account, whether you’re involved in a contested or uncontested divorce, so consult an accountant.
Child Support Caps
In the State of New York, child support is calculated according to the income of both spouses—up to a cap of $143,000 (as per the Child Support Standards Act), a number which changes every two years. Custodial parents whose spouse had an income far exceeding this amount often find that child support payments fail to meet their current financial needs. It is possible, however, for the courts to go beyond this cap under certain circumstances. If you’re facing this situation, our divorce attorneys in Suffolk County and Nassau County can argue for additional support for you and your children.
For high-income individuals, a prenuptial agreement is a common way to protect their assets by making arrangements in advance for the division of assets that occurs through a divorce. This allows the spouses to enter into a binding agreement that the courts would be expected to accept. There are a number of pitfalls associated with prenuptial agreements, though. If a “prenup” is not executed properly—for example, if it can be shown that a spouse signed it under duress—the courts may simply throw it out.
High-Income Divorce Attorneys in Suffolk & Nassau County
If you are looking to create a prenuptial agreement, or believe you have the grounds to invalidate a prenup that was executed improperly, please contact the Law Office of Robert H. Montefusco, P.C., to speak with an experienced divorce attorney serving Suffolk County and Nassau County.