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 public record
- 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.