Experiencing a divorce can take an emotional and financial toll on couples regardless of the circumstances; however, when significant assets are involved, the stakes are higher for finances. With more complex investments and high value assets to divide, expert guidance is necessary to protect the interests of all parties involved. Here is a look at why divorcing spouses with substantial assets should work with a high asset divorce attorney.
Property Division Can Be Complicated
Bringing in a high asset divorce attorney can help you understand and navigate the complexity of dividing all property into cases for the court to review. Although the same rules apply to all divorce cases regardless of wealth, these cases are often more contentious and require a host of other resources.
The assets acquired during a marriage by either party are generally considered to be marital property, while gifts and inheritances that have been given directly to one spouse typically belong solely to that spouse.
In states, including Maryland, there is an equitable distribution of marital property, but this does not necessarily mean the distribution will be equal. In many of these cases, one spouse will end up obtaining a larger portion of the couple’s estate. For example, the court may award the family home to one spouse and their vacation home to the other spouse despite one of the properties being significantly more valuable than the other.
As a result, these cases can be highly contentious. When couples are unable to reach an agreement on the division of marital property, a court will decide for them. The court considers factors such as how each spouse contributed to the estate and the marriage, which is why having experienced representation can help ensure a more favorable outcome.
Financial Experts May Be Needed
Many high asset divorce cases require the services of independent financial experts. These professionals can be used to value complex assets such as real estate investments, investment accounts, professional practices, foreign investments, retirement plans, and collections of high-value antiques, art, or other collectibles.
In preparation for the division of complex assets, it is important to get an exact valuation; the proper distribution of these assets influence the amount of money that is paid in alimony and child support.
Courts take the value of marital assets into account, along with the couple’s income, when determining alimony and child support awards. If there is an inaccurate valuation, the distribution of property may not be equitable.
Working with a high asset divorce attorney gives spouses access to financial experts such as forensic accountants, investment specialists, and real estate appraisers who can provide input to ensure the settlement is fair.
Child Support May Be Calculated Differently
Working with a high asset divorce attorney can also benefit couples with children. Although child support is always calculated by following the state’s child support guidelines, parents with a high net worth often end up paying an amount that is well above the limit.
The court has discretion in these cases to work beyond the guidelines to help ensure that children continue the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed during the marriage.
The Need for Business Valuations
In many high asset divorces, one or both spouses own a business. These cases can be very complicated, particularly if one spouse claims an interest in the other spouse’s business or the business has additional owners outside of the marriage who need to be considered.
In some cases, a business may even need to be dissolved. Working with a high asset divorce attorney who has experience in business valuations and division can ensure you proceed in a beneficial manner.
Most divorces create tax implications, particularly when it comes to the division of property. For divorcing couples with high assets, the burden of those tax changes can be significant. The way that retirement and investment accounts are divided can also have a long-term impact on your finances.
Therefore, wealthy couples should work with high asset divorce attorneys who can advise on the tax implications of property division and guide them toward the most tax-efficient approach.
Avoiding Common Pitfalls
Working with an attorney who has experience in high asset divorces can help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that are encountered in these types of cases. High asset divorces tend to take longer than those involving couples with more modest assets, but experienced attorneys can help ensure that you benefit from the right resources and that property valuations and other matters go smoothly to avoid losing assets that rightfully belong to you.
Contact the Maryland Family Law Attorneys at SIEGELLAW
The experienced Maryland high asset divorce attorneys at SIEGELLAW can help guide you through all aspects of your divorce, from business valuations and property negotiations to spousal and child support. Contact SIEGELLAW today to schedule a consultation with our experienced team.