Irvine High Asset Divorce Attorneys
For wealthy individuals, the divorce process presents some unique challenges. While the basic issues and procedures are the same regardless of your assets and income, high-end divorces tend to be much more complex. This means they also tend to be more time-consuming, and it means that there are more opportunities for contentious disputes to arise as well. As Irvine high asset divorce attorneys, we are intimately familiar with the issues, practicalities and nuances involved.
Which of your assets are on the table in your divorce? Which are you entitled to keep as your “separate” property? If you signed a prenuptial agreement, is it legally-enforceable in California? Since California’s community property law entitles each spouse to half of the couple’s marital estate under most circumstances, these are all critical questions that you need to answer so that you can make informed decisions as you prepare for your divorce.
Decades of Experience Representing High-Asset Spouses in Orange County
Our Irvine high asset divorce attorneys have decades of experience representing high-net-worth spouses in all stages of the divorce process. From pre-divorce planning to settlement negotiations and mediation, and from divorce litigation to post-divorce enforcement, we guide our clients through the critical issues involved in their divorces step-by-step. We are sensitive to the unique aspects of high-end divorces, and we have particular experience representing business owners, business executives, licensed medical or legal professionals, investors and other high-net-worth individuals.
As your legal counsel, we will work closely with you to identify the issues involved in your divorce, help you establish priorities, and develop a viable strategy for securing a favorable result. Depending on your personal family and financial circumstances, this may include addressing matters such as:
- Enforcement or challenging your prenuptial or post nuptial agreement
- Identification of your (and your spouse’s) separate assets and separate property components of community assets
- Ownership and control of privately-owned businesses
- Alimony for high-earning spouses
- Ownership and distribution of investment portfolios, retirement accounts, real estate and other high-value assets
- Protecting artwork, vehicles, yachts, jewelry, and other items of substantial monetary and sentimental value
- Child support for extraordinary income earners
- Child custody and parenting time issues for parents who work full time, travel frequently and have other commitments outside of the home
When necessary, our Orange County high-end divorce lawyers can also assist our clients with matters such as uncovering attempts to hide assets and income, intentionally remaining unemployed or underemployed, wasting community assets and using community assets to finance extramarital affairs. Regardless of the circumstances involved in your divorce, we have the experience to help you make informed and strategic decisions, and we have the commitment to ensure that your financial interests remain secure.
Our Irvine High Asset Divorce Attorneys Outline What May Make Your Divorce More Complicated as a High Income Family
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 Typically Requires the Help of Irvine High Asset Divorce Attorneys
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 high asset 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 high asset divorce lawyer can make recommendations on finding the right type of valuation experts to aid you in this process.
Calculating Support Payments is Complex in California for High Income Couples
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.
FAQs: Getting Divorced as a High Net Worth Individual in Irvine
How much of my wealth can I keep in my divorce?
Determining how much of your wealth you will be able to keep will require an assessment of the specific circumstances involved in your divorce. As a general rule, California law requires divorcing spouses to divide their “community property” assets equally.
As a result, to the extent that your wealth qualifies as community property, as much as half could be at risk in your high-asset divorce. But, any assets that qualify as your “separate property” are yours to keep; and, if you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, then the terms of your agreement should control over California’s default community property rule.
Will my spouse be entitled to a large amount of alimony?
Maybe. In California, a spouse’s right to alimony is determined based upon both need and ability to pay. If your spouse will need financial support after your divorce in order to maintain your standard of living, and if you will have the capacity to pay, then you may be looking at paying alimony after your divorce.
However, there are various ways that alimony can be structured, and there are ways that property division and alimony can be combined in order to reduce the amount that needs to be paid. Our high-asset divorce attorneys can help you weigh all of your options and ensure that you retain as much of your post-divorce income as possible.
What if my spouse wants to keep assets that I accumulated prior to our marriage?
In general, assets accumulated prior to the date of marriage do not qualify as community property. This means that the assets you owned prior to your marriage should be yours to keep in your divorce. But, there are exceptions. The commingling of assets, use of community assets to improve separate assets, and appreciation in the value of separate assets during a marriage can potentially give rise to community property rights.
Will I have to sell my vacation home, boat or other high-value assets during my divorce?
Again, the answer is maybe. Assuming these assets qualify as community property, you and your spouse will need to find a way to distribute them in your divorce. While one option is to sell and split the proceeds, another option is to have each spouse give up his or her interest in certain community assets in exchange for obtaining exclusive ownership of others.
So, for example, if you have a vacation home or boat that you want to keep after your divorce, you may be able to do so by effectively “buying out” your spouse’s interest in the asset. As we build your divorce strategy, our attorneys will work with you to protect your most-prized assets during the process.
Will your Irvine high asset divorce attorneys try to negotiate with my spouse or go to court?
In general, pursuing settlement negotiations is a good option because it can help keep costs down while also keeping your divorce out of the public eye. However, if the circumstances of your divorce suggest that attempting to negotiate upfront is not worthwhile, then our attorneys can pursue litigation with the goal of protecting your assets and income to the fullest extent possible.
Request a Confidential Initial Consultation With One of Our Irvine High Asset Divorce Attorneys Today
If you are ready to file for divorce in Orange County, if your spouse has already filed, or if you are simply at the stage of planning ahead to preserve your wealth, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a confidential initial consultation with one of our highly-experienced Irvine high asset divorce attorneys, please call 949-474-0800 or send us a confidential message online today.