What’s a High-Asset Divorce?
This does not refer to just what’s in a joint bank account or the value of a house. While these are important items, high-asset divorces cover any marital property division with a high valuation.
Types of High-Value Assets
- Business Ownership
- Corporate & Business Assets
- Professional or Medical Practices
- Retirement, 401K, IRA & Pension Accounts
- Stock Options / Voting Rights
- Assets in Trust
- Jewelry, Home Furnishings, Heirlooms, & Art Collections
- Investment Portfolios
- Multiple/Expensive Vehicles
- Foreign Investments
- Real Estate
How Are High Net-Worth Divorces Different Than a Standard Divorce?
These divorces follow the standard divorce process but generally involve high net-worth professionals, business owners, and those with substantial financial holdings. And when these marriages end, it is not uncommon for one spouse to lack the same financial stability as their Ex.
As you can imagine, when a significant income disparity exists, it often leads to contention about what’s fair and what was accumulated during a marriage. You should be prepared for this and secure representation that protects your interests.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
You should be free to move on without fear of financial insecurity. High-value divorces in particular demand considerable financial understanding, meticulous attention to detail, and deep legal knowledge about how Georgia law approaches similar situations.
Common issues associated with high-asset divorces include:
- Potential Tax Liability
- Business Valuations/Ownership
- Income Levels & Lifestyle
- Child Custody & Parental Involvement
- Spousal Education Level & Earning Capacity
- Timeshares, Rental Properties, & Vacation Homes
- Health Insurance & Mutually Contributed Policies
- Any Post/Prenuptial Agreements
High-Asset Division & Protection
With an extensive background in high-asset divorces, our team of high-asset divorce lawyers is ready to protect everything you’re entitled to and provide realistic answers regarding:
Alimony in a High-Asset Divorce
Your spouse can be ordered to pay spousal support until you’ve gotten the training or education needed to become financially self-sufficient.
While permanent alimony is rare and only awarded in cases where a long-term marriage is ending and the requesting spouse has little to no earning potential due to age or disability, you can argue for long-term alimony if you need time to acquire marketable skills.
When the marital estate includes a family business, the first step is to appraise it. Once its value has been determined, you generally have three options:
- One spouse keeps the business. The spouse who runs the company buys out the other’s share, usually by offering another piece of the marital property of equal value.
- You both keep the business. Although this isn’t common, you can opt to remain business partners after your divorce.
- Sell the Business. If you both want to start over, you can sell the business and split the proceeds.
Learn More About Dividing a Business
Pension, Retirement & Other Accounts
Georgia Domestic Relations laws state that all contributions made by either spouse to a retirement account, such as a 401K during the marriage, are subject to equitable division. This includes unvested retirement funds.
When accounts have to be divided, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) usually has to be drafted and approved by the plan administrator. A QDRO divides and changes the plan ownership in accordance with the final order and is required for any pension or employee benefit plan subject to ERISA.
High-Asset Divorces & The Benefit of Mediation
Avoiding court is always beneficial, but divorce mediation has other advantages in high net-worth divorces.
When a divorce is filed in court, it becomes public. Anyone willing to visit the courthouse can learn about your case, how much you make, the value of your assets, and information about your minor children. With mediation, these details are kept confidential.
In addition to ensuring privacy, mediation is generally a quicker route to resolution. You don’t have to rely on a court calendar, and you can create the terms of your divorce settlement agreement.
What If An Ex is Hiding Assets?
In high-asset divorces, it’s not uncommon for one spouse to hide property to avoid sharing its value. This practice is illegal and taken seriously by Georgia courts.
Common tactics for concealing assets include:
- Under-reporting on income tax filings
- Deferring stock or bonus payouts until a divorce is final
- Parking assets with a third party to avoid disclosure
- Failing to report cash income
This list is not comprehensive, so if you suspect a spouse is attempting to hide assets or unfairly limit the equitable division of your marital estate, you need to act fast.
We can uncover discrepancies and locate hidden assets by utilizing our network of financial experts, forensic accountants, and private investigators. Our Georgia divorce attorneys will also ensure your Ex’s dishonest approach is considered in any further negotiations or court proceedings.
How High-Value Assets Get Divided in Georgia
Georgia is an equitable division state. This means all marital debts and assets, even substantial and complicated ones, must be divided fairly. But this is not always 50/50.
A family law judge in Georgia will consider various factors when splitting assets. These considerations also influence how the parties negotiate, and some will be given more weight than others.
Factors that impact asset division:
- The Length of the Marriage
- Health & Age of Both Spouses
- Any Marital Misconduct, Abuse, or Neglect
- What’s Separate vs. Marital Property
- The Value of Marital Assets vs. Debts
- Both Spouses’ Standard of Living
- Child Custody & Living Arrangements
- Any Dissipation of Marital Assets
- The Needs & Circumstances of Both Spouses
- Both Spouses’ Contributions as Wage Earners, Caregivers, Parents, Etc.
- If One Spouse Assisted in the Other’s Earning Power
Our High-Asset Divorce Attorneys Are Ready to Help
If you’re the primary wage-earner, you may be concerned about how a divorce will impact your lifestyle. Likewise, if you divorce a spouse who earns considerably more than you, ensuring you and your children have what you need should be a priority.
Your divorce attorney should know your goals and how to accomplish them. At the Gentry Law Firm, our Marietta family lawyers’ success in high-asset divorces comes from providing clients with steadfast support, every resource they need, and finding unique strategies for aggressively pursuing their fair share.
Our team assists with every aspect of a high-asset divorce:
- Uncover Hidden Assets
- Divide Retirement Funds & Investment Accounts
- Accurately Assign Business Valuations
- Split Up Joint Real Estate Ventures
- Ensure the Equitable Distribution of Assets
- Negotiate Favorable Support, Custody, & Settlement Terms