A New York divorce can be emotionally and financially challenging for anyone, but the process may be even more complex for high net worth individuals. You may encounter issues when it comes to complicated assets and ownership structures, since you probably not dealing with just a family home, cars, and bank accounts. Even when affluent couples believe they are doing the right thing by executing a prenuptial agreement, the character and co-mingling of some properties makes them difficult to resolve through the contractual language. Plus, spouses often have alternative sources of income beyond a salary.
If you are contemplating divorce in a case that involves high asset value, it is understandable that you will feel uneasy about these hurdles. You can count on a New York high net worth divorce attorney to handle the pitfalls, but it is helpful to review some of the challenges you could face – and some suggestions on how to address them.
Complicated Property Division: Retain a Business Valuation Expert.
New York’s divorce statutes require equitable distribution of all marital assets, no matter what their value. The point is to divide all real and personal property according to the interests of fairness, so an exact 50-50 split may not be the end result. Still, because equity is the goal, it is necessary to determine what assets are marital and separate, and then divide marital assets equitably between the parties.
In a high net worth divorce, you could be dealing with real estate holdings, rental properties, interests in a business, investments, pensions, brokerage accounts, pre-IPO stock, and other assets. Some of these may be in the name of individual parties OR in the name of a company or trust. As a result, you will need to retain a financial analyst or other professional to assist.
Spouses Hiding Assets: Take Advantage of Divorce Court Remedies.
Parties to a high asset divorce may be tempted to conceal property, but there are a few points you should note:
- When parties complete the required New York Statement of Net Worth in connection with divorce proceedings, they do so under oath.
- Both sides will have the opportunity to depose the other party and other witnesses.
- There are harsh consequences for making false or misleading statements when signing an attestation in the Statement of Net Worth AND swearing to tell the truth in a deposition.
If you believe your spouse is hiding assets, you can rely on your divorce lawyer to leverage these points and bring them before the court. The penalties for perjury are severe, and can even lead to criminal charges.
High Net Worth Divorce Takes Longer: Consider What You Can Agree On.
In most cases, affluent individuals seeking to end their marriage will endure a longer legal process. Complicated assets and ownership of property is just the beginning, so you will also need to address spousal maintenance and issues related to minor children. If you can agree on any of these factors, you could reduce the timeline of the proceedings.
Complex Alimony Issues: Focus on Factors Other Than Income.
In 2021, New York law on spousal maintenance applies a value of $192,000 as the upper income level when considering alimony. This might seem fair if you are paying support, but not if you are the recipient. Courts can deviate from the formula and take other factors into account, so your strategy should focus on maximizing alimony above the $192,000 threshold.
Concerns About Protecting Your Interests: Contact a New York High Asset Divorce Lawyer
Though divorce is complicated, you have less to worry about when you have an experienced attorney to fight for your rights. For more information, please contact The Mandel Law Firm to set up a consultation. You can reach our Manhattan office by calling (646) 770-3868 or filling out an online form.