Divorce in San Diego is complicated and messy in even the simplest cases, but when one or both spouses in a divorce have high-valued assets or investment income, the process of filing for divorce and evaluating and dividing the assets fairly becomes even more complex and contentious. If you have a high net worth and significant assets, you are probably wondering what will happen to these assets in your upcoming divorce. The process of identifying, assessing and distributing marital assets in divorce requires immediate intervention by a skilled San Diego high net worth divorce lawyer who can ensure that your best interests are protected and the details of your divorce case are kept confidential. With more than a decade of experience in family law, Attorney Steve Smith and our legal team at (619) Divorce understand that high net worth divorces present unique legal challenges, and we will help you navigate the complicated process of protecting your assets and getting the best possible outcome in your case. Contact our trusted San Diego high asset divorce attorneys today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Table of Contents San Diego High Net-Worth Divorce Lawyer
Experienced San Diego High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer
California is home to many high-profile couples and wealthy business executives, and there are many contentious issues that can arise when high-income couples such as this divorce, including disputes involving child custody, marital asset division and spousal support payments. Attorney Steve Smith and our team of family law attorneys at (619) Divorce have experience with complex and high net worth estates in both contested and uncontested divorces, and our reputation for aggressively protecting the rights of our clients in high asset divorce cases speaks for itself. We have a clear understanding of San Diego divorce law and how it applies to your specific case, and we will use every resource at our disposal to protect your best interests. We are familiar with the various strategies your spouse may use to conceal his or her actual income and assets, or to get more from you than he or she is entitled to, and we will work tirelessly to protect your financial well-being, from negotiation to litigation and every step in between. We have successfully litigated hundreds of divorce cases in San Diego and we will put our expertise to work for you. Consult our law firm today for a free evaluation of your high net worth divorce case.
High Asset Divorces in San Diego
A person with “high net worth” is someone with $1 million or more in liquid financial assets, meaning cash on hand or assets that can be readily converted to cash, such as money-market funds, mutual funds, stocks or bonds. Liquid assets do not include land or real estate investments, houses or cars, because it can take months to receive cash from the sale of these assets and the assets could end up selling for a lower price than the current market value. When one or both spouses in a San Diego divorce have a high net worth, the divorce is considered a “high asset divorce,” and these types of divorces typically involve complex marital property division and valuation of significant assets such as real estate, investments, stock options and more. There are obviously many advantages to having a high net worth, but these advantages can quickly become drawbacks in the event of a divorce. When high net worth individuals file for divorce in San Diego and they don’t have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place, the process of appraising and dividing the couple’s separate and marital assets can become extremely complicated. Many high net worth divorces in San Diego involve the following assets:
- Real estate
- Privately owned companies
- Publicly owned companies
- Professional practices
- Stock options
- Family businesses
- Professional licenses offering an increase in earnings
- Life insurance policies
- Employee benefits
- Retirement accounts
High net worth divorces come with unique legal and financial challenges. Unfortunately, these types of divorces become all the more complicated in cases that involve jointly held businesses, jointly owned property, offshore bank accounts, cross-border assets and any other valuable assets that may be difficult to divide. Generally speaking, the more entangled the spouse’s financial lives are, the lengthier and more difficult the divorce process will be, which is why we recommend hiring an experienced attorney when dealing with a high net worth divorce. Our lawyers at (619) Divorce understand that all high asset divorces are different, with unique circumstances that can have a significant bearing on the division of assets, and we can help lessen the impact of your divorce on your finances.
Property Division in a High Net Worth Divorce
Many high net worth individuals in San Diego have a prenuptial agreement drawn up before they are married to protect their assets and property in the event of a divorce. Unfortunately, if a couple does not have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place and they end up getting divorced, the high net worth individual’s assets and property could be at risk. Because California is a community property state, the law presumes that all property and assets acquired by the couple during the marriage is owned equally by both spouses. And if the couple gets a divorce, this so-called “marital property” will be divided equitably between the spouses. In fact, most disputes associated with high net worth divorces have to do with the:
- Valuation, and
- Division of marital assets.
However, even separate property – property owned by one spouse or the other prior to the marriage – which is typically not divided in a San Diego divorce, may be considered community property subject to division if both spouses used the property, contributed to it and helped maintain it. Attempting to conceal assets by underreporting income or transferring the ownership of property to a third party is one of the biggest mistakes high asset individuals make during San Diego divorce proceedings, and if your spouse attempts to conceal or hide property in an attempt to circumvent the property division agreement, we will work with experts to examine tax records, credit card statements, bank statements and other financial records to ensure that we obtain an accurate assessment of your spouse’s income and assets.
Common Issues Affecting High Asset Divorces
A high net worth divorce is a unique divorce scenario, and there are many issues that arise in high asset divorces that you would not normally see in other divorce cases involving couples who do not have significant financial assets. In addition to the matters typically dealt with in the average San Diego divorce case, some unique issues and concerns common to high net worth divorces include the following:
- Prenuptial or postnuptial agreement disputes
- Tax considerations when transferring assets
- Calculating spousal support and/or child support payments
- Hidden assets or a spouse’s failure to properly disclose assets
- Valuation and division of business interests
- Determining an accurate value of assets
- Marital property division disputes
Because these specific issues don’t typically arise in a standard divorce case, it is imperative that you enlist the help of a San Diego divorce attorney who specializes in high asset divorces. Our knowledgeable family law attorneys at (619) Divorce are intimately familiar with the inner workings of the legal system and how San Diego divorce laws can affect your case, and we will work with skilled financial experts to determine the precise value of your marital assets and devise an equitable agreement to divide the assets as fairly as possible. Working with a lawyer who specializes in high asset divorces can help reduce your risk and improve your chances of a fair asset distribution at the conclusion of your divorce proceedings.
Calculating Spousal Support and Child Support Payments
Divorce and the various expenses that typically accompany divorce can put a significant strain on your finances, even if you and/or your spouse are high-income individuals with significant assets and property. In any San Diego divorce, if one spouse earns a great deal more than the other, the higher-earning spouse will likely be ordered to pay alimony, or spousal support, to the lower-earning spouse to help maintain the marital standard of living, or the lifestyle enjoyed by the couple during the marriage. High asset couples typically enjoy a high standard of living and alimony payments resulting from a high net worth divorce can become a significant financial obligation for the paying spouse. If the divorcing couple has children, whether the parents share custody or one parent has sole custody, the higher-earning spouse may also be required to pay child support to cover the cost of the children’s daily living and medical expenses. High asset divorces typically involve many moving parts, and while you have the right to represent yourself in your divorce, it is always a good idea to enlist the help of a reputable high net worth divorce lawyer in your case. With the help of our team of skilled San Diego family law attorneys, you can secure the best possible outcome for your family’s financial future.
How a Skilled High Asset Divorce Lawyer Can Help
If you and your spouse have significant marital assets and you are getting a divorce in San Diego, the assets may be divided equally in the divorce, even if some of the assets were acquired prior to the marriage. Whether you wish to protect your assets from your spouse, or you believe you are entitled to a larger portion of your spouse’s assets, we can help. Not only do our high net worth divorce lawyers have experience handling complex divorces, we also have access to forensic accountants, financial advisors and other financial experts who can assist us in taking an accurate inventory of your assets and income to determine a fair division of the assets and the appropriate payments for child support and spousal support. No matter how complicated your marital estate, our family law attorneys can help you understand your rights as they pertain to your income, investments and financial assets.
Our San Diego high net worth divorce lawyers at (619) Divorce are committed to aggressively protecting our clients’ rights and assets and we will advocate for you every step of the way, from the moment you hire our firm to the conclusion of your case, including representing you in court, if necessary. With our divorce lawyers on your side, you may be able to negotiate a fair divorce settlement with your spouse privately and avoid going to court altogether, which is the route many of our clients with significant wealth prefer to take. If this is the case, our attorneys can help you resolve your dispute in a more discreet way using alternative methods, such as mediation or collaborative divorce, with the goal of helping you and your spouse put together a mutually agreeable divorce settlement that resolves such issues as property division, child custody and alimony payments. However, if you and your spouse are unable to agree to the terms of a divorce settlement, our legal team will competently litigate your case in court and do everything in our power to help you get the best possible outcome in your divorce.
Consult Our San Diego High Net Worth Divorce Lawyers
High net worth divorces tend to be exceptionally complicated and stressful and even the most amicable divorces can take an unexpected turn towards contentious when high-value assets and income are involved. We understand the desire to agree to any terms just to bring about a conclusion to the divorce, which can be a painful and emotionally draining experience. However, if you are involved in a high net worth divorce in San Diego, it is important to remember that your income, assets and financial future are on the line, which means the stakes are higher than ever and there is no room for error. Our family law attorneys at (619) Divorce are aggressive and discreet, and we can help you decide on the best way to dissolve your marriage, always with the goal of protecting your income and assets. Don’t leave your financial future up to chance; contact (619) Divorce today to discuss your case with an experienced and knowledgeable San Diego high net worth divorce lawyer.