When one or both spouses have significant assets, complex legal issues arise when it comes to divorce. Couples with high a net worth typically have a diverse financial profile that requires an in-depth understanding of asset valuation. For this reason, it is critical to have a divorce lawyer who has the experience and the resources necessary to achieve a fair outcome in a high asset divorce.
A “pre-nup” is an agreement each spouse signs prior to marriage which determines how assets will be split in the event of divorce. This type of an agreement can set forth different scenarios depending on the precursor for the divorce. However, just because you signed a pre-nuptial agreement does not mean that your fate in the divorce is set in stone. Certain provisions are unlawful in a pre-nup, or at least are overridden by statutory law. For instance, a pre-nuptial agreement cannot override the distribution of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan (ERISA plan). In other words, even if you signed a pre-nuptial agreement waiving your right to your spouse’s ERISA, you may still be entitled to a share.
Regardless of whether one or both spouses are invested in ownership of a business, the first step is to assess the market value of the company. An experienced Media divorce lawyer will work with financial experts (forensic and/or actuarial) to determine the appropriate value of your individual and marital assets. In some cases, it may be to one spouse’s advantage to buy the other out, or structure an annuitized settlement. Your lawyer will explain all of your legal options, setting forth the possible ramifications.
In any divorce, child custody tends to be the most heated, central issue. With high asset divorces, it can be easy for the breadwinner to take advantage of the dependent spouse. A reputable Media family law lawyer will always fight for the best interests of the child.
It is not uncommon for a spouse to attempt to hide assets when facing a high asset divorce, whether it be through offshore bank accounts, or the movement of cash. Your lawyer will work with forensic accountants to assign value to all assets for equitable distribution, including residential and commercial real estate, art and collectibles, patents and intellectual property. They can also investigate hidden assets.
These are complex issues that require an experienced high asset divorce lawyer to disentangle. You may elect to draft a settlement agreement that includes a constructive trust to account for the tax effects of stock option distribution. 401ks, 403Bs, IRAs and more are often subject to division in a divorce.
If you are considering divorce, contact a Media divorce lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. to discuss your legal options. Contact us online, or by phone at 610-565-3700 today. With offices conveniently located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we represent clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including those in Chester County and Delaware County, as well as the surrounding communities of Collegeville, Havertown, Lansdale, Marcus Hook, Phoenixville, and Upper Darby.