Divorces are difficult in general, but when one or both spouses have a
high net worth, dividing assets can be complex. In your divorce, you will
want to protect your assets. Learn more about how high net worth divorces
are different from normal divorces, and what you can do to ensure your
assets remain in your control.
What is a High Net Worth Divorce?
A high net worth divorce occurs when a couple accumulates a large amount
of assets during their marriage. Upon their divorce, these marital assets
will need to be divided. This can be labor intensive due to the amount
or high value of assets, as well as for other reasons, such as hidden assets.
How to Handle Asset Division
In a high net worth divorce, asset division can be a painstaking process.
Often, couples with a high net worth will have extensive financial accounts
to review, as well as businesses or practices, pension and retirement
plans, stocks, furnishings and art, vehicles, and real estate to document
and evaluate. Gathering all this information before the divorce is important,
so that you have a record of your marriage’s finances in case of
wasteful dissipation or any attempts to hide assets.
It isn’t uncommon for one or both spouses to attempt to hide or spend
assets to prevent the other spouse from gaining control of them in the
divorce. Wasteful dissipation of marital assets includes gambling, frivolous
purchases, giving money to family or friends, or purchasing gifts for
a lover. Hidden assets can include purposefully undervaluing a business,
giving funds or gifting vehicles, art, or other expensive objects to friends
and family to recover later, or moving money into secret accounts. In
California, an automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO) can be issued
once a divorce has been filed. This prevents either spouse from:
- Borrowing ore selling insurance held for the other spouse
- Changing bank accounts
- Modifying policies or beneficiaries
- Selling, borrowing against, or transferring property
- Destroying, dissipating, or hiding assets
An ATRO is meant to ensure that neither spouse can prevent their assets
from being fairly divided. The financial status of a couple cannot undergo
vast changes once a divorce action has been started.
Protecting Your Assets
If you own a business or professional practice, you may be concerned about
maintaining control of your investment and hard work. It is possible to
protect your assets, but you will need to be strategic when navigating
your divorce. A divorce attorney who is experienced in handling high net
worth divorces can advise you throughout your divorce to help you protect
your assets. To protect your assets you should:
- Have information about the value and activity of your assets or business
- Use negotiation and mediation to keep your private business from becoming
- Avoid moving money or assets without your lawyer’s advice
- Maintain your business or assets’ value
A divorce attorney can help you handle a divorce, but to successfully resolve
your divorce, you need representation from a high-caliber, proven divorce
attorney. A skilled divorce lawyer can help you protect your assets and
gain the settlement you desire.
I am a Westlake Village divorce attorney with more than 30 years of experience
fighting for my clients. I have helped many clients protect what is theirs
during a divorce, and I am committed to your satisfaction. Contact the
Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff today to learn more about my services
or to begin you case with a free case evaluation.