How is Divorce Different for High-Income Spouses?

Divorce is difficult under any circumstances, but the process becomes more complicated when the couple seeking a divorce enjoys a high level of income or wealth. Because this will generally mean that there are more assets, accounts, and lifestyle needs to address, high-income couples seeking a divorce in California can often get involved in a long and difficult battle. Speaking with an Irvine divorce attorney at the outset of your plans to divorce can minimize the stress and emotional toll of a bitter divorce. It’s possible to remain amicable while seeking the most favorable outcome for you and your lifestyle needs.

Because high-income couples will generally have more to sort through in a divorce, the process will look a bit different for them. Below, we review what you can expect to be different about a high-income divorce.

Dividing Marital Property is More Complicated

Higher earnings and wealth will usually mean there are more properties, bank accounts, and investments to divide between the spouses. California law states that marital property – or any property acquired during the marriage – must be divided equally between the spouses, so if you earn a significantly higher income than your spouse and wish to protect it, the only way you will be able to circumvent losing half your fortune is by proving that certain property shouldn’t be considered ‘marital’ property. An experienced Irvine divorce attorney with extensive experience navigating high-income divorces will be key here.

As part of the division of assets, you will need to plan to hire a valuation expert who can assess the value of your property, be it real estate, investment portfolios, jewelry and other collectibles, cars, boats, and more. Because asset structures among high net worth individuals are often a complex web of investments scattered across companies, some spouses may wish to additionally hire a forensic accountant to ensure the other spouse isn’t purposely hiding assets in the divorce. Your Irvine divorce attorney can make recommendations on finding the right type of valuation experts to aid you in this process.

Calculating Support Payments is Complex

When dealing with a high-income divorce, it’s likely that both spouses and any children that resulted from the marriage have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle. California courts require divorcing couples to be able to provide more or less the same type of lifestyle each party enjoyed during the marriage, and that’s especially true if there are children involved.  California uses a complicated calculator for determining alimony and child support payments. Notably, high-income parents or spouses who do not plan to have the majority of custody over the children will be required to pay a higher portion of their earnings toward child support payments, ensuring that the primary caretaker of the children has everything they need to continue to provide the same type of lifestyle for their children. 

Contact an Irvine Divorce Attorney to Initiate Your Divorce

If you’re a high earning individual exploring a divorce, you may wish to speak with an Irvine divorce attorney before you make any significant moves toward ending your marriage. They can advise on the best approach for navigating the difficult journey ahead. Reach out to us today.