Divorcing spouses can experience more challenges when a large number of assets or high-valued properties are involved. High income business owners typically have a variety of income sources, such as a combination of real estate and intangible assets, that can be difficult to assess. Rare and complex sources of income can be obscured or hidden from the other spouse, preventing a fair distribution of assets and debts during the dissolution process.
Complex High Net Worth Divorce Situations
An astute business owner can be caught in a complex high net worth divorce when he or she owns, operates, or holds:
- One or more family-owned businesses, corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, trusts, or sole proprietorships
- Real estate portfolios, brokerage accounts, oil and gas leases, and other intangible properties
- Complex pension arrangements, individual retirement accounts, profit sharing plans, or government pensions
- Unsecured or undersecured debts
A high net worth divorce can also become complicated when:
- High valued assets disappear or decrease in value shortly before or during the divorce process
- Debts increase significantly shortly before or while the divorce process is pending
- Financial statements presented during discovery fail to reflect the same level of assets in other financial documents obtained from lenders or financial institutions
Equitable Distribution of Assets and Liabilities
Florida law follows the principle of equitable distribution of marital assets during a divorce. Key factors in the process of equitable distribution include identification and proper classification of assets as marital and non-marital. The law defines which properties are considered non-marital and marital. Some assets are presumed to be marital, particularly when acquired during the marriage. But the law also excludes certain assets from the marital estate even if received or acquired while the marriage was subsisting.
Identifying marital assets and debts and obtaining their accurate valuations are highly important in any divorce involving high income business owners. Any asset that is included and valued correctly can increase the marital asset pie to be divided between the parties. On the other hand, hidden or understated assets can deprive one party of their rightful share, highlighting the importance of legal skills and remedies for their discovery.
Role of High Asset Divorce Attorney
An experienced divorce legal team can take away much of the stress that accompanies high asset high or net worth divorce cases. Depending on your circumstances, a trained attorney can discover hidden or under-valued assets, secure necessary documentation to establish their existence or accurate values in court.
If you are a successful business owner, your attorney can devise an equitable distribution strategy that can protect the financial viability of your businesses while providing the other party with a fair share of the marital assets.
Other Issues in High Net Worth Divorce
Like all divorce proceedings, other financial issues arising from a high net worth divorce can center on alimony and child support. These issues are governed by different rules and guidelines, often requiring extensive negotiations between the parties.
The amount of alimony that a court may award a spouse will depend on various factors such as the duration of the marriage, the standard of living that the spouses maintained during their marriage, and the employability of the spouse requesting alimony.
Child support is typically determined by a formula found in the Florida Statutes. Several factors are considered in arriving at the proper amount that a former spouse must pay as child support. The high income business owner’s monthly earnings will definitely be an important factor, together with the cost of health insurance that may be reasonably obtained for the child, and the number of overnights that the high income parent will spend with the child.
Issues arising from a divorce can have a significant impact on the finances of a high-income business owner. It’s important to consult an experienced divorce attorney who possesses financial and accounting skills, to help analyze your complicated situation, sort all the legal issues that can arise in a divorce process, and provide appropriate legal advice before making important family and business decisions.
In Florida, the Anton Legal Group is an experienced divorce team headed by David Anton, Esq. who holds degrees in law and economics, with emphasis in Accounting. Our Firm also has an accounting specialist and a network of local Tampa forensics experts who can help analyze complex financial situations and serve as expert witnesses in court.
We work tirelessly to ensure the discovery of all assets and debts and their fair distribution between the parties.
The Anton Legal Group also handles other family law cases, including prenuptial agreements, paternity, time sharing, and cohabitation agreements.
We invite you to call us today at (813) 443-5249 to speak to one of our attorneys.