Going through a divorce can be very stressful, particularly when significant assets are involved. It is a time when you will be required to make major decisions that will have a significant impact on your future financial well-being making it imperative to approach it from an informed and educated position.
Here are seven legal tips for men who are involved in a high-asset divorce.
1. Meet With Several Family Law Attorneys
Take the time to choose your attorney carefully; your representation will directly affect the outcome of your case. Although friends and family can be a great source of recommendations, your case will require an attorney familiar with the unique challenges involved in high asset divorces.
An initial consultation with several different attorneys will help you determine the level of skill they possess with a high asset divorce, and will also provide the opportunity to see if you are compatible. You will be sharing very personal information about your life with this person; choose an attorney whose communication style appeals to you.
2. Understand That You Won’t Get Everything You Want
It is unrealistic to assume you will get everything you want from the division of assets, even if you are the primary earner. Maryland, as in many other states, divides assets equitably. This does not always mean a 50/50 split; you may have to make some compromises. Therefore, it is wise to prioritize the items you want to receive which can facilitate the negotiation process.
3. Do Not Attempt To Hide Assets
As part of your divorce process, you and your spouse will be asked to disclose all of your financial assets. You or your spouse may be tempted to avoid disclosing or hiding certain assets to avoid losing them in the divorce.
However, this will almost certainly backfire as either spouse can hire a forensic accountant to uncover all assets.
There are many different ways a spouse may seek to hide assets. For example, those who own a business may wait until after the divorce is finalized to close a lucrative deal or even start paying salaries to employees who do not exist. Another approach is gifting valuable objects or money to other parties, such as family members or friends, who will then return it once the divorce has been finalized.
The penalties for hiding or attempting to hide assets can be quite steep, and the judge will have an unfavorable view of you for the remainder of the divorce proceedings.
4. Consider Mediation
Any case that is handled by a court will become public record. Therefore, many high net worth couples choose mediation to keep the details of their divorce private. This can also be a faster way of concluding the marriage as it enables the spouses to make important decisions themselves. In addition, it is often less expensive and less time consuming than going to litigation. If you choose mediation, you should have an experienced family law attorney on your side ensuring that you are getting a fair deal.
5. Be Aware of the Tax Implications
A high-asset divorce will often involve liquidating significant assets and selling joint assets such as real estate, which can result in major capital gains and impact your taxes. Be sure you understand all of the ramifications of dividing your assets. A good family law attorney with experience in high-asset divorces will work with a tax accountant to ensure all of the long-term implications are considered.
6. Document Everything
During the divorce process, you should document all of the communications that take place between you and your wife. This can help ensure she does not say something that you know to be untrue.
If you need to initiate contact with her, it is best to do so in writing. If she calls you and you believe you can have an amicable conversation, it is okay to talk with her, but try to be vague and avoid committing to anything. Write down all the details of what was said after you hang up while it is fresh in your mind.
7. Stay Off of Social Media
During a divorce, you must be very careful about what you post on social media. Keep in mind that your wife, and even the judge in your case, may be able to see the things you post and comment on, even if your account is set to private. Be very careful about the photos you post and how they could be used against you. It is best to stay off of social media entirely as you go through the divorce process.
Schedule a Consultation With the Experienced Maryland High-Asset Divorce Attorneys
The family law attorneys at SIEGELLAW have considerable experience representing men in high-asset divorces, with a thorough understanding of everything from property negotiations and business valuations to equitable distribution of assets. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your case.