If you and your spouse are divorcing and have a high net worth, you may have questions about what could happen to your assets, as well as other aspects of the divorce. The answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about high-asset divorces are listed below. However, every case is different, so use this information as a starting point for discussions with your attorney for more specific advice.
How Are Retirement Accounts Divided in a High-Asset Divorce?
There is no difference between the way in which pensions and retirement accounts are divided in high-asset divorces — compared to divorces involving modest assets. The court will make a qualified order explaining how much of the retirement account each spouse will be awarded, and specify when and how.
However, the division of retirement plans grows more complicated in certain cases, such as when the wage earner was paid with incentives or products. In cases where one or both partners have federal pensions, they are divided in a slightly different manner, so it is important to work with attorneys who have experience in managing divorces involving federal employees.
What Will Happen to My Business?
Business owners are often concerned about how a divorce will affect the company. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question as businesses might be separate, non-marital property, all marital property or a combination. Therefore, this must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
How Can I Determine How Much Money My Spouse Makes?
In some cases, a spouse may try to prevent their partner from determining how much money they earn, and they may even attempt to hide assets. This may occur when, for example, one spouse is a partner in a business that is hiding assets.
Some spouses may ask their employer to delay issuing to them a raise or bonus to prevent the income from being calculated in the divorce. In these situations, divorce attorneys can work with forensic accountants to attempt to locate hidden assets.
What Is the Formula for Monetary Awards and Property Division?
There is no specific formula for making monetary awards or property division in the state of Maryland. Instead, the court considers a variety of factors in deciding these matters. These factors include how much each spouse contributed to the well-being of the family, both financially and otherwise, as well as the economic circumstances of each spouse.
The length of the marriage, the physical and mental health of each spouse and when and in what manner specific assets were acquired are all considered when the court is deciding upon a fair and equitable award.
Can a Court Give One Spouse Exclusive Rights to Use the Couple’s Home or Property?
In some cases, a judge might award to a spouse, who has custody of a couple’s minor children, a right known as the “temporary use and possession” of certain properties such as the family home, car, home appliances or furniture.
This type of award is made considering the best interests of the couple’s children, the hardship that would be imposed on the party who is not awarded possession, and the interests of each party in the ongoing use of the property either as a place of dwelling or source of income.
How Can I Conceal Assets that I Don’t Want my Spouse to Obtain in the Divorce?
Although it may be tempting to hide some of your assets during a divorce to prevent your spouse from having access to them, doing so is never a good idea, and the consequences for doing so can be severe.
Whether you have hidden property from your spouse, lied about the amount of debt you have, undervalued certain assets, claimed your expenses are higher than they are or lied about your income, there could be serious legal consequences and you may even be charged with perjury. Keep in mind that this also applies to passing high-value items to friends or family members to hold onto until after the divorce.
If one spouse suspects that the other is hiding assets, there is a good chance that their legal team will be able to uncover them.
Do I Need a Special Type of Attorney?
People with high incomes or complex assets need experienced legal counsel on their side to help them navigate the complex world of settlement negotiations. When looking for a divorce attorney, it is important to your future that they have extensive experience in high asset divorces.
Request a Consultation With the Maryland Divorce Attorneys
When two spouses separate in Maryland, wealth and accumulated assets can introduce many complexities to the proceedings. Therefore, it is essential to enlist the services of a reputable family law attorney with experience in high-asset divorces. Contact SIELGELLAW today to speak to an experienced Maryland divorce attorney about your case.