High net worth divorces are often highly contested, because there is so much at stake. Beyond the value of the property, the division of wealth can impact the future of a family-owned business and its employees. It can also impact your financial security and the inheritance of your children.
There is no shame in having wealth. Whether it is inherited or the culmination of hard work and sound investments, you have strong property rights and the option to defend those rights. If you have a high net worth or complex assets, you must consult with an experienced family law attorney, who can help you classify and appraise the following property:
- Family business;
- Complex business interests;
- Stock portfolio;
- International investments;
- Retirement accounts like 401(K), pension, and IRA accounts;
- Real estate;
- Art; and
Your wealth should not be held against you. In other words, the existence of wealth does not create a presumption that you should give up more than your fair share because you can afford to do so.
In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, which can preemptively protect wealth in the event of a separation and divorce, North Carolina divides property by equitable distribution. This takes the total fair market value of the property acquired between a couple’s date of marriage and their date of separation, then divides it between the spouses. Except for inheritances and gifts specifically given to one spouse, marital property includes most property acquired or earned during a marriage. This includes individually-held accounts, property titled in one person’s name, and retirement accounts. Classifying property as marital property versus separate property is no small feat, and it is of vital importance since the separate property is not subject to division.
Appraising Significant Assets
Determining the value of complex assets requires an experienced attorney and experts who are qualified to appraise the different types of property that make up your estate. A proper appraisal is critical to walking away from your marriage with a fair outcome, instead of leaving money on the table. At New Direction Family Law, we utilize experienced experts who can provide well-researched and credible appraisals for the court.
Dividing Wealth Equitably
There is a presumption that the net value of marital property should be divided 50/50 between spouses. However, courts have the discretion to stray from split this if decides an equal split is not “equitable.” Courts can consider a variety of factors when making an equitable division of property. Our attorneys understand the information that courts look for and how to raise a vigorous defense against attempts to get an unequal share. In addition to appraisal experts, we also work closely with financial advisers, brokers, and tax experts who can help guide the court into issuing an equitable distribution order that is fair to you.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
New Direction Family Law provides high-quality legal representation for men and women who want to preserve their property rights when their marriages end. Our attorneys have extensive experience in resolving high net worth divorces. We work with established experts and take a thorough and comprehensive assessment of your property. We do so to make sure that you leave your marriage with the best possible outcome. Our firm serves clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Call New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or visit us online at our website.