You can expect considerable challenges and complexities whenever there is a substantial amount of money involved with a legal relationship, and this is most definitely true for divorce. While New York divorce laws do not change based upon dollar value, the application of these statutes could have a profound impact on the rights and interests of both parties. The stakes are higher when addressing such issues as property division, spousal support, and child custody, visitation, and support.
When these complexities are combined with the emotional issues involved with ending your marriage, you can see why retaining a New York high net worth divorce lawyer is essential. Reviewing some answers to common questions may also convince you of the importance of legal representation.
What constitutes a “high net worth” divorce? These cases are not defined by an exact dollar amount, but you can generally assume that you fall into this category if assets and annual income total in the seven figures. You may be looking at a high net worth divorce depending on:
- The value of marital assets, i.e., all property acquired by the couple during their marriage and;
- What one or both spouses earn through work;
- Other income and property owned separately by each spouse; and/or,
- A combination of these factors.
Why is divorce different when the marital estate is substantial? Two of the three key issues that are involved in any New York dissolution of marriage case will be even more crucial with a high net worth divorce.
- Property Division: New York divorce statutes require equitable distribution of all marital assets, which means property is divided fairly between the spouses; it does not necessarily mean an equal split. The valuation process, complicated ownership structures, and interests in a business complicate the assessment for equitable distribution.
- Spousal Support: State laws on alimony allow the court to use discretion when awarding one spouse to pay support to the other, so a judge may consider the length of the marriage, the ability of each party to be self-sufficient, and other factors; the value of the marital estate will certainly play a role in decisions regarding spousal maintenance.
Are there special considerations for child support? Yes, New York’s child support laws use an income shares model for purposes of calculating child support, so a high net worth divorce will impact the amount. Under this approach, the child is entitled to receive the same proportion of a parent’s income as they would if the marriage remained intact.
Can spouses work out an agreement on divorce-related issues? Not only is it possible to agree in a high net worth divorce, but you may be able to take advantage of numerous benefits by compromising on certain issues. For instance:
- You have more control over the outcome, as compared to when a court holds a hearing and applies New York divorce laws.
- You can complete the divorce process in a shorter amount of time.
- Your costs are typically lower when you agree rather than litigate divorce issues.
A New York High Net Worth Divorce Attorney Can Provide Additional Answers
This overview of the key issues in high net worth divorce may be helpful, but it is no replacement for having an experienced lawyer to represent your interests. Our attorneys at The Mandel Law Firm can assist with negotiating and drafting an agreement to resolve divorce issues, but we will protect your interests in court if your case goes to a hearing. To schedule a consultation at our offices in Manhattan, please call (646) 770-3868 or check out our website. We can discuss strategy and determine next steps after reviewing your unique circumstances.