What’s Different About High Net Worth Divorce
Are you facing a high net worth divorce? Here’s a look at some of the unique divorce challenges spouses may encounter in New Jersey when considerable wealth is at stake.
Exotic or Complex Property
Not many of us going through divorce have to worry about how to divide up the art collection or wonder who will get the ski home in Aspen. Couples who are wealthy have real estate that may need to be inventoried, catalogued and appraised, especially if the property is located outside of the United States, where exchange rates and valuations may be different.
Also, many high net worth divorce cases have a business or multiple businesses that may be subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. Evaluating and placing a value on a complex corporation with inventory and staff can be cumbersome and expensive. Still, at the end of the day, the court will take into account the professional evaluations and market analysis and distribute whatever assets the couple has fairly as the law requires. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state and the court looks at the totality of the circumstances such as who contributed to the value of the asset and when and how the asset was obtained when deciding how to fairly divide the couple’s marital property.
While more and more “regular” couples are taking the smart step of entering into a prenuptial agreement or prenup, it is almost a guarantee that a high profile or high net worth couple have an agreement that lays out the parameters in the event of a divorce. The more assets and debts an engaged couple has, the more complex the prenup can be. If the couple does not agree on the interpretation of the prenup or if one of the couple claims that they were forced into the agreement, there can be expensive and time consuming litigation on just the issue of the prenuptial agreement, before the court even gets to the issues in the actual divorce.
Costs for the Kids
Most folks have costs for food, day care and medical expenses. But, if you are a celebrity or wealthy, your children may have costs for stabling their horses, expensive boarding schools, private music lessons or summer vacations in Europe. Traditionally, child support is calculated using the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, a computer program that is designed to calculate a child support figure for parents who do not reside together. The guidelines take into account income, overnights spent with the non-custodial parent and child-related costs such as daycare and out-of-pocket medical expenses. But, the guidelines are only intended to cover families who earn a maximum of $187,000. In high net worth divorce cases, figuring out the amount of child support can get complicated and involves the family court judges weighing factors such as the needs of the child, the standard of living and economics of the parents, the income and earning capacity of the child and any other factors that the court finds relevant.
Divorce is difficult, even for the wealthy. Complex decisions in high net worth divorce must be made regarding fair division of assets and debts all while being sure that the kids are happy and healthy through this reorganization of your family. No amount of money can wipe away the anxiety and uncertainty of a marriage ending, even if you are accustomed to the very best.
If you have any other questions about high net worth divorce or any other family law issue, please contact us to schedule your initial confidential consultation with one of our qualified and experienced attorneys.