Common Concerns for Individuals Facing a High Net Worth Divorce in Florida
Divorce can often be expensive, but when you own a significant number of assets, the thought of divorce may be almost too much for you to bear. After all, Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the Florida courts will aim to distribute marital property in a way that is equitable and fair unless there is a justification for uneven distribution. Furthermore, unless you and your spouse signed a prenuptial before marriage, or postnuptial agreement after marriage but during a time of harmony, a significant portion of your assets could go to him or her.
At our office, we aim to protect our clients’ assets in high net worth Florida divorce through mediation, negotiation, and sound legal representation. If you are going through a high net worth divorce, and if you want to be sure to retain the majority of your assets, consult our Boca Raton divorce attorneys today.
8 Ways to Protect Your Assets in a High Net Worth Divorce
For high net worth individuals, we offer the following advice in order to help them retain a majority of their assets:
- Utilize valuation specialists. One of the most common mistakes that individuals make in a high net worth divorce is failing to accurately value their business, professional medical practice, or real estate before beginning settlement negotiations. Never do this, as without an accurate valuation, your spouse could end up with your most prized possessions and entities, while you end up with the car and the couch, solely because the judge did not know what it was worth.
- Hire a forensic accountant. A forensic accountant is an accountant whose sole job is to pinpoint the source of a shared bank account’s funds. In many high net worth marriages, the spouses will commingle their funds and assets, making it difficult to determine what belongs to whom if and when the time comes to do so. A forensic accountant can accurately trace funds and assets when you and your spouse no longer know who contributed what to the marriage.
- Evaluate your prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. If you and your spouse created a prenuptial and/or postnuptial agreement, reevaluate it every couple of years. After all, things change, and what you entered the marriage with may be vastly less than what you leave it with. By evaluating your nuptial agreements every couple of years, you can ensure that all or most of your assets are protected in the event of a divorce.
- Reduce your tax liability. The tax consequences for transferring assets in a high net worth divorce are almost always significant. In order to avoid a high tax liability, have your accountant and divorce attorney work together to structure asset division to mitigate as much of your tax liability as possible.
- Understand your potential alimony obligations. It is important that you understand that, if you are the main breadwinner of the family, or if you bring in significantly more income than your spouse, you may be entitled to support your spouse financially. For how long and how much all depends on how long your marriage lasted, and what each of you contributed to the marriage. Furthermore, your alimony payments will be taxed, so be sure to negotiate an alimony agreement that will be favorable to both you and your spouse.
- Keep track of marital waste. It is not uncommon for the lesser earning spouse of a high net worth marriage to go on a spending spree, or to withdraw large amounts of cash, before the divorce is finalized. If your spouse does this, be sure that your attorney knows about it, as it may count towards his or her final settlement.
- Factor in attorney’s fees. If you have a significant amount of income, and your spouse has little to no income of his or her own, you will be expected to cover the cost of both yours and your spouse’s attorneys. Make sure that you calculate the cost of each attorney’s fees into the overall projected cost of your divorce.
- Calculate the cost of your divorce. Oftentimes, divorcing individuals are so focused on what they want to take from one another, or on what they do not want the other to have, that they continue to fight without ever considering how much that fight is actually costing them. For instance, the divorce could settle for $20,000, but after months of negotiations and disagreeing, the final cost of the actual divorce (including attorney’s fees and court fees) could be upwards of $40,000. Had you just settled for the amount your spouse initially asked for, you could have saved yourself $20,000 or more.
Consult with a Boca Raton High Net Worth Divorce Attorney
At the Law Offices of Schwartz | White, we help individuals settle their high net worth divorces in the most cost effective way possible. While you may not be able to keep all of your assets in the divorce, with a Boca Raton high net worth divorce attorney on your side, you can rest assured knowing that you can at least save a majority of them. Contact our family law firm at 561.391.9943 or online to schedule a private consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys today.