HIGH NET WORTH DIVORCE
by Taylor Jordan, Attorney at Law
There are emotional and financial issues at play in any divorce and those issues can be heightened when there are large assets and income to be considered like there are in a high net worth divorce. High net worth divorces can be complex and bring their own unique set of issues. It’s important if you are contemplating divorce to meet with an experienced family law attorney to explain and help navigate these complex issues. For example, consider the following issues and determinations that may need to be considered when going through a high net worth divorce:
Income of Parties: If one or both parties has significant income, those figures need to be closely examined and addressed if child support and/or spousal maintenance (also known as “alimony) needs to be determined. Determining one spouse’s income involves looking at not only the gross earned wages that spouse receives, but also examining passive income and investment income. In situations where one spouse is not employed outside of the home, that spouse may be asked to undergo a vocational evaluation. That vocational evaluation is used to help determine potential income that spouse could be making outside the home if they undertake certain training and education that may be necessary for employment.
Property Division: When there are significant marital assets to be divided like there are in a high net worth divorce, it’s important to determine the values of each asset to ensure there is an equitable division of property. Sometimes this involves hiring an appraiser to determine the value of a house or other tangible asset. In certain cases, the use of an actuary expert may be necessary to determine the value of a financial account, or if there is a business owned by one or both spouses there may need to be a business valuation completed. If there are concerns about one spouse potentially hiding assets or money, a financial forensic expert could help trace funds and locate hidden assets.
Non-Marital and Marital: In a divorce, a large component of dividing property is first determining what assets are “marital” and subject to division in the divorce and what assets are “non-marital” and are a spouse’s separate property, if anything. In high net worth divorces, it’s fairly common for one or both spouses to have non-marital property, and it’s also common for spouses to have assets that have both a marital and a non-marital component. For example, if one spouse purchased a house prior to marriage, that spouse has a non-marital claim to the house. However, if marital income or funds are used to help pay the mortgage on that same house after getting married, there will also be a marital claim to the house which will need to be equitably divided in a divorce. A tracing analysis will need to be conducted to determine what component of the asset is marital and subject to division, and what component is non-marital.
Divorce is hard enough as it is. Don’t make it any harder on yourself and make sure you hire a trusted family law attorney to assist you through the complexities of the legal system. At McCullough & Associates, we have successfully handled hundreds of high net worth divorces and obtained the best outcomes for our clients. We work closely with experts throughout the divorce process to ensure that even the most complex attempts to hide assets will be discovered. We fight for our clients to ensure the fairest outcome is reached. If you have questions about a divorce, call us at 651-772-3446 to be connected to one of our experienced family law attorneys.
What Are Prenuptial Agreements and What’s the Difference Between a Postnuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement, often called a “prenup” and formally known as an “antenuptial agreement”, is a written contract between two people that is entered into before their marriage. Antenuptial agreements are primarily used to determine how assets will be divided in the event of a legal separation, divorce, or death of either spouse. Antenuptial agreements are only valid and enforceable if (1) there has been a “full and fair disclosure” of each partner’s assets and income; and (2) both partners have had an opportunity to consult with legal counsel of his or her choice regarding the antenuptial agreement.
A postnuptial agreement is similar to an antenuptial agreement in that it primarily addresses how assets will be divided in the event of legal separation, divorce, or death, however, a postnuptial agreement is entered into after the spouses have married, rather than before the spouses have married. Postnuptial agreements must comply with the same requirements for an antenuptial agreement. It should also be noted that a postnuptial agreement is presumed to be unenforceable if either spouse files for a legal separation or a divorce within two years of signing the agreement. This presumption may be overcome if one spouse can establish that the postnuptial agreement is “fair and equitable.”
Antenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements both require that the agreement must be (1) in writing; and (2) signed in the presence of two witnesses and a notary. In addition, an antenuptial agreement must be entered into prior to the day of solemnization of marriage.
– Taylor Jordan
June 29, 2019
What are Prenuptial Agreements? (PART II)
A prenuptial agreement (formally known as an “antenuptial agreement) is a written contract between two people entered into before their marriage. Typically, prenuptial agreements have a listing of all of the assets (tangible and intangible), and debts of each soon to be spouse. In the event of a legal separation or a divorce, the prenuptial agreement can provide for the division of property as well as determine the issue of spousal maintenance. The agreement may also set forth the distribution of assets and property in the event of the death of one spouse.
Prenuptial agreements can be useful tools for individuals planning to marry where one or both of the parties have significant assets. They are also popular in second marriages because parties who have been married before generally have assets and property that they would like to have passed on to their children and grandchildren, rather than to their subsequent spouse. To ensure that a prenuptial agreement is valid and fair to both parties, there must be a full and fair disclosure of the earnings and property of each party and the parties must have an opportunity to consult with legal counsel of their own choice.
At McCullough & Associates, we are here to help you navigate the complexities and legal nuances of prenuptial agreements. Our attorneys have almost 50 years of combined experience and handle many complex, high net worth cases. If you need assistance with a prenuptial agreement, contact our office today to set up an appointment.