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Considerations in a High Net Worth Divorce

The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer July 3, 2023

The division of property and other assets is commonly one of the most contentious parts of a divorce. When one or both individuals in the marriage have a high net worth (meaning a significant amount of money and assets), the situation only becomes more complicated with so much at stake. 

In the state of California, high net worth divorces are surprisingly common. When a marriage is ending and a substantial amount of assets are being argued over, things can quickly become stressful and challenging for both sides. If you are facing divorce, and you or your spouse possess considerable assets, having experienced legal representation is vital.  

Contact us at The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer to discuss your situation. With locations in San Jose and Morgan Hill, we proudly serve clients in Fremont, Hayward, Pleasanton, and throughout Santa Clara County and Alameda County in California. 

Dividing Assets in California

The division of property in a divorce varies from one state to another. California is a “community property” state, meaning all shared property and other assets are split 50-50 between the divorcing spouses. The thing to note is that California law has very limited exceptions to what is considered marital property. Nearly everything a couple acquired during the course of their marriage falls under this 50-50 split. With this simple 50-50 division being the general rule in the state, high net worth divorces mean a sizeable amount of assets are open to division, leading to highly-contentious battles. 

High Net Worth Divorces

While there is technically no set value amount a couple’s assets must reach in order to be a “high net worth” divorce, the term often is often applied to cases in which the combined assets are valued at $1 million or more. In such situations, there are often added complexities involved in the division of assets, including investment portfolios, real estate, and other high-value property. There are multiple factors that arise in a high net worth divorce, with each aspect carrying great importance. 

Prenuptial Agreements

Though prenuptial agreements are common in marriages in which one or both spouses are wealthy, it is important to understand that a prenuptial agreement may not be entirely “ironclad” from a legal standpoint. If one spouse did not fully disclose assets prior to the prenuptial agreement, or if one spouse claims to have been forced to sign the agreement against their will, it is plausible that a court could order the prenuptial agreement to be set aside. 

Asset Issues

While many divorces create complicated issues, if there are multiple businesses or a wide range of real estate properties involved, it is fertile ground for significant legal issues to arise. The more diversified the assets are, the more complex and difficult a divorce can become. Some key factors to consider when high-value assets are being divided include: 

  • identifying assets 

  • evaluating businesses and investments 

  • international assets 

Spousal Support, Child Support, & Child Custody

As with other divorces, considerations for spousal support and child support will be made based on the income of both parties as well as the lifestyle to which the spouse or children have been accustomed during the marriage. 

Agreeing to a parenting or custody plan in a high net worth divorce can go a long way toward avoiding serious litigation. Prioritizing the best interests of the children in any type of divorce proceedings is always the best option. 

Tax Issues & Forensic Accounting

Having varied assets of high value often involves considerable tax issues as well. When multiple real estate properties or businesses are part of a divorce, having an attorney who can explain tax implications and help you navigate the complex landscape is important. 

Publicity & Your Divorce

If your high net worth divorce involves one or more parties who live in the public eye, the publicity and media attention drawn by the divorce should also be considered. In order to provide the level of discretion and privacy you may desire, certain parameters may need to be sought, such as gag orders or requesting to have the court records sealed. 

Duration of Divorce Proceedings

With a greater level of complexity involved in a high net worth divorce, it is common for the process to take more time than divorces in which less is at stake or the division of assets is more simplified. If your divorce falls under the high net worth category, your attorney can help you know what to expect and prepare you for the potential of a lengthy process. 

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Dealing with the end of a marriage is seldom a pleasant process under any circumstances. With high-value assets involved, it is common for the process to become even more complicated and emotionally charged. Having a law firm well-versed in the unique complexities that come with a high net worth divorce can help you face the process with confidence. A skilled attorney will be able to explain each step of the proceedings and provide you with the advice you need to make informed decisions. 

Your Interests Are Our Interests 

If you are going through a divorce, you may feel like your entire life is being turned upside down. Knowing you have dedicated legal representation looking out for your best interests can give you peace of mind in the middle of life’s challenges. At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, we are here to stand by your side every step of the way. If you need help with a high net worth divorce in San Jose, Morgan Hill, Fremont, Hayward, Pleasanton, or throughout Alameda County or Santa Clara County, California, contact us today.