A high asset divorce is a common term for a divorce in which the total assets available to the couple are above a certain threshold. In New York City, this number is $1 million or more. Because of inflation and other factors, many people do not file for high asset divorces until they have reached this level.
In determining who receives what assets, the court must consider the needs of each spouse as well as general principles that include: balancing economic outcome with efforts to stay out of debt; equitable division of marital assets and debts; ensuring neither party will be overly burdened by remaining debts after the division of assets. The court may also consider how long a couple was married when dividing assets (the longer the marriage, the higher the percentage of assets awarded to the spouse).
Should I Hire an Attorney?
In a high asset divorce, someone not accustomed to financial planning and management may feel overwhelmed trying to protect their interests and figure out what they want. A New York City high asset divorce attorney can help you navigate this complicated legal landscape to meet your needs as fully as possible during this already complex process.
The higher the net worth of a client, the more likely it is that they will need an attorney experienced in handling such cases. If the value of the marital property exceeds $1 million, you should consider hiring a qualified attorney before filing for divorce unless there are compelling reasons not to do so. There is no set formula on how much your fees will cost; instead, they depend on the complexity of your case, how much time your attorney must dedicate to you, and additional fees for other services not covered by the original cost.
Clients may want to consider whether hiring an attorney is necessary after receiving this information. If they can handle legal matters themselves, they will save money. They should make sure that their spouse has hired an attorney to ensure fair treatment during negotiations.
Uncovering Hidden Assets
When one spouse has significant assets or an above-average income, the couple may decide to get a divorce. This can be done rather amicably, but there are still numerous legal issues for consideration. One of these issues is what will happen to the high-value assets and property that each person brings into the marriage. A high asset divorce can be challenging because both parties want their assets protected. However, this could lead one person to hide certain valuable items during the process. The other partner may also try to do the same thing; therefore, hiring attorneys who specialize in uncovering hidden assets is very important.
Hiring a Forensic Accountant
Finding valuable items typically starts with hiring a forensic accountant experienced in discovering hidden assets. The forensic accountant will look through all the financial records, bank accounts, and other places where items can be stored or stashed. This process might take a few months before there are results, but it is likely well worth their time when the accountants find an essential item.
While not everyone who goes through a high asset divorce has fought over money after the courts decide, it does happen. Once the couple has gone through this process, often they are left with very few arguments about who gets what valuable property because the process has already become difficult enough to take away much of their desire to fight about it. If there are additional arguments between them after everything is said and done, they may hire attorneys for this legal issue.
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What Are the Steps for Filing a High Asset Divorce?
Filing a high asset divorce in New York City begins with an inventory of all the assets, debts, income, and expenses relevant to the proceedings. This is followed by negotiations between both parties regarding what each person should receive. With this information, it can be determined which party is entitled to retain particular property or earnings and how much support must be provided by either spouse.
Once all assets and debts have been identified, it will be possible to calculate their monetary value. Debts that need to be paid out must be deducted from the total assets at this time. The next step is for each spouse to account for what they own and owe themselves. All income and expenses accrued after the filing date should also be reviewed so that both parties know what funds are available in the future. The attorney will fight for the client’s case, and the final decision will be in the judge’s ruling.
When these discussions reach an impasse, it may become necessary to have a trial before a judge to determine how property will be divided. A written agreement about financial distribution needs to be reached before the court date. Once the courts have approved the marital settlement, alimony (if any) can be set up starting on that date for the duration of the award. Most high-asset cases will always end up in court for the final decision.