High Asset Divorce
Any divorce can be challenging, but high-asset divorces are especially complicated. It is crucial to retain an experienced attorney who works with knowledgeable and skillful experts. Often, for example, there are significant tax consequences of the division of property. At the Law Offices of Stephen J. Press, our West Palm Beach divorce lawyers can carefully review your case and either negotiate a strong settlement or take to trial issues that cannot be resolved. One of the critical issues during a high-asset divorce is how property should be distributed, but often spousal maintenance (alimony) and other issues must also be resolved during a high-asset divorce and can be affected by the quality of your legal representation.The Process of Pursuing a High-Asset Divorce
When a couple gets a divorce in Florida, the court is required to equitably distribute the marital assets and debts. How the assets and debts are divided is based on numerous factors, but they are not necessarily divided evenly. Marital property is subject to a fair and equitable division, but any separate property stays the property of the spouse who owns it. Accordingly, whether property is marital or separate can become a vital question. It is important to properly identify and characterize all of the assets as well as all of the liabilities.
High-asset divorces can involve a range of valuable tangible property, including cash, securities, pensions, business property, business inventory, business equipment and machinery, and accounts receivable. In addition, they can involve intangible assets such as trademarks, copyrights, business relationships, goodwill, and business development.Wasting Assets
Both spouses are required to make truthful financial disclosures during a divorce. Each spouse must file a statement of net worth, which is a detailed description of a spouse's financial condition, including income, assets, expenses, business interests, taxes, debts, and investments. During the discovery process, further financial disclosures may be required to verify assets received during the course of the marriage.
However, when either spouse has a high net worth, there may be some difficulties making these disclosures. Moreover, sometimes one or both spouses try to divert marital assets, spend too much money, or hide huge debts. This can result in hidden assets and improper divisions. A spouse who has been a victim of this type of misconduct will need to investigate and show that funds were wasted or that assets were hidden. The spouses often trust each other during a marriage, and this trust can make it difficult for an innocent spouse to figure out whether he or she has the proper financial records and documents. An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to identify whether there are conflicts or omissions in your spouse's financial disclosures and conduct further discovery on these matters.Tracing and Appraisal
The property will need to be traced, sometimes by a forensic accountant, to determine how it should be characterized. Only after it has been characterized will it be possible to figure out whether an asset should be divided and how it should be divided. When there are valuable and complicated assets, it is often necessary to retain an expert appraiser.
For example, one valuable asset would be a business that is operated by one or both spouses. Sometimes both spouses obtain income from the business, while in other situations, only one spouse may derive income from the business. It may be necessary to retain an expert to appraise the fair market value of a business that is considered marital property. The appraisal will include intangible assets, such as business goodwill or intellectual property. It may require applying complex formulas.
The Law Offices of Stephen J. Press has handled many cases involving the division of complex assets, including stocks and stock options, gifts and inheritances, income earned from non-marital assets, business corporations, and professional practices.Consult an Experienced West Palm Beach Attorney to Handle a High-Asset Divorce
The knowledgeable trial lawyers at the Law Offices of Stephen J. Press can guide you through a divorce involving substantial and complex assets. We represent people in the West Palm Beach area and elsewhere in Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties, including in Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Stuart, Hobe Sound, Indiantown, Palm City, and Jensen Beach. Call the Law Offices of Stephen J. Press at (888) 808-2772 or use our online form to schedule a consultation.