High Net Worth Divorce
High net worth can add complexity to divorce issues such as pre-nuptial agreements, property division, business valuations, stock options, retirement assets, and more. In any family law case, but particularly in those involving high net worth with unique and complex financial issues, the legal team you choose can make a world of difference in the settlement outcome. At Cooper Levenson, you get more than just standard legal representation. You get a highly qualified Family and Divorce Law strategic legal team that will work with you to achieve your goals and protect your family, your interests, and your assets.
High net worth divorce cases are multi-faceted and usually involve unique challenges, largely related to the identification, valuation, and distribution of a couple’s assets, which require a high level of professional knowledge, savvy, and discretion. Our team of skilled attorneys is experienced at producing a successful outcome for the following key high net worth divorce issues:
If you and your fiancé signed an enforceable pre-nuptial agreement, you will likely have questions about how your prenup will affect asset division. At Cooper Levenson, our team of attorneys is extremely well versed in the law and how it relates to pre-nuptial agreements in high net worth divorce cases. Our attorneys will review your document in detail and discuss with you its impact on the resolution of your divorce matter.
Real Estate and Property Division
Real estate is often one of the larger assets in a high net worth marital estate. Whether comprised of a marital home, vacation property, commercial and/or investment property, our expert team will help determine what portion of the property is subject to equitable distribution and what portion (if any) is exempt. Many factors are involved in the distribution of these assets, and our skilled team will look at details including, but not limited to, date of marriage, date of property purchase, down payment amounts, source of payments, and inheritance/gift/or bequest to determine your percentage share interest. Whether you decide to retain or sell the property, our Cooper Levenson attorneys will work with you to create a solution, which will preserve your interest in the assets.
Often wealth is directly tied to a business, business interest, professional practice, or other business asset that must be valued. Our Cooper Levenson attorneys work with experts who can accurately determine this value. We utilize forensic accountants, actuarial experts, and appraisers who have specific experience valuing assets for purposes of equal distribution. The valuation process will typically include an inspection of the business site, records, books, general ledgers, payroll registers, receivables, machinery, inventory, real estate, client lists, partnership interests, enterprise, and goodwill. If you owned a business prior to the marriage, the team will determine if the business is a marital asset, and if so, what your spouse’s share interest is. Depending on whether you plan to run the business post-divorce or sell the business, we will help you develop an agreement with your spouse. When we represent you in your high net worth divorce, we collect the evidence needed to form a strong case, and we work to preserve as much of your wealth as possible under the applicable provisions of the law.
Stock Options and Tax Considerations
To address the complexities involved in distributing stock options that are part of employment compensation, our Cooper Levenson attorneys will analyze your stock options to identify the grant date and vesting schedule and determine which assets are subject to equitable division. The settlement may include a constructive trust which will address the tax effects of your stock option distribution. In high net worth divorce cases, the distribution of marital property, stock options, and other assets can potentially trigger a large tax liability. Our attorneys have a sophisticated understanding of the tax issues involved in high net worth divorces, and we work to help structure your settlement distribution agreement to minimize your overall tax obligation.
If you have acquired retirement assets such as a 401K, 403B, IRA, Pension, etc. before or during your marriage, you may be wondering if these accounts will be subject to equitable distribution in your divorce. It is a common misconception that if an account is exclusively held in your name, then a spouse cannot claim a share. However, in most circumstances, this is not true, and the value of your retirement account accumulated from the date of marriage to the date of filing for divorce will be subject to equitable distribution. Often these assets are not physically split at the time of the judgment of divorce, but instead at an established future date. Our skilled attorneys work with you to ensure that when the time comes you receive the proper share and accurate benefit amount due to you.