Divorcing a spouse is never easy. When your assets are high, there are often more complications than if you have a modest estate. While California is a community property state, oftentimes couples have assets which they owned coming into their marriage, there may be a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, or one spouse may have inherited money or assets during the marriage. These can all complicate an otherwise simple division of property.
Approximately nine percent of California marriages end in divorce. Many of these divorces involve challenging issues such as business ownership, pension plans, and personal items such as works of art or jewelry. This is why it is important to consider every aspect of your divorce and work with a skilled family law firm. Here are some tips that could make the process easier for you.
California is a No-Fault Divorce State
There are only two grounds for divorce in California, irreconcilable differences or one spouse’s inability due to a lack of legal capacity to make decisions which is expected to be permanent. Therefore, nearly all divorces in the state fall under the category of irreconcilable differences.
Keep in mind, just because one partner has filed for divorce does not mean they agree on nothing. One thing to keep in mind is it may be possible to reach amicable agreements on issues. When this occurs, the cost of your divorce will probably be less.
Consider Getting Prepared for Property Division
You can help speed up the process of divorce if you have prepared a complete list of assets which belong to you and your spouse. If one or both of you have sole assets, if you have a prenuptial agreement in place, or if you have partial ownership in a business, those assets should be included.
Whenever possible, you should consider having all assets valued when meeting with a family law attorney about your divorce. Taking this step can help save time and money during the divorce process. If you and your spouse can agree on specific property division you should speak with your divorce attorney about this as well. Remember, always talk to a divorce lawyer about property division before you sign any agreements with your spouse.
High Net Worth Divorces Involving Child Support or Spousal Support
If you and your spouse both work full-time jobs, the issue of spousal support may be moot. However, if you make three or four times the amount your spouse makes, there may be cause for you to have a discussion with your divorce attorney regarding alimony payments or spousal support. Remember, a court will use a lot of different information in calculating support, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, and the marketability skills of a non-working spouse. Make sure you discuss all aspects of support with your attorney.
Child support is deemed to be the legal responsibility of both parents until a child reaches the age of 18. Should the child remain a student, the time is extended to age 19. The best interest of the child will be a primary consideration. Child support payments will be calculated based on a pre-determined formula once all sources of income from both parents have been reviewed by the courts. Other factors such as educational, health, and other needs specific to your child will also be considered. The amount of time a child spends with each parent may also be a factor.
Remember, these are areas where spouses may be able to find some common ground. If it is possible to do so, you can minimize the potential for long, complicated court hearings for these matters. This means a lower cost to you for your divorce.
Prepare for the Tax Consequences of Divorce
Whenever a couple divorces, there are tax consequences. Make sure if you are involved in a high asset divorce you have spoken with a tax professional and prepare for your divorce’s finalization. A tax professional can help you understand the tax ramifications of your divorce, regardless of how complicated your situation may be.
Your Assets Should Have no Impact on Custody
When both spouses are equally capable of providing a stable environment for their children, the matter of child custody is independent of your net worth. This is something to keep in mind if you and your spouse cannot agree on custody. Regardless of the final division of assets, attempting to keep a parent from having custody based solely on their income, or ability to earn will not be viewed favorably by the courts.
High Net Worth Divorces Often Require Unique Solutions
When you are considering a law firm to represent you in a divorce, you need someone who has experience handling complex divorces. High asset divorces often require individualized solutions which can make them seem more challenging, especially in a community property state.
You should seek assistance from a Certified Family Law Specialist when you are getting a divorce and your estate is considered a high asset estate. This is the best way to ensure your interests are protected and that you do not make any foolish mistakes during the process.
Avoid Foolish Spending During Divorce Proceedings
While you have every right to do everything in your power to make sure you are not left financially devastated by a divorce, you also cannot do anything which could jeopardize your assets during the proceedings. Remember, if you liquidate assets to keep them from your spouse, run up unnecessary debt, or make other bad decisions, they could come back to cause you problems during your divorce.
Divorces are fraught with emotions, even when both parties agree their marriage cannot be saved. This can lead to bad decision making by either party to the divorce. Divorces do not always have to be contentious, and working with an attorney who has the skills necessary to help you navigate a high asset divorce is your best option.
If you are concerned about protecting yourself or your assets during a divorce proceeding, contact The Law Office of Steven M. Bishop, CFLS today at (619) 299-9780 and schedule a free phone consultation and find out how we can help you stay protected throughout the process.