Getting divorced can be complicated. But if you have a lucrative career, or are worth a lot of money, the challenges may only increase. What are some of the significant legal issues for high net-worth divorces? Here’s what you need to know.
What is a “High Net-Worth”?
While there is no set legal definition for a high net-worth, the term is often used to describe those individuals or couples whose investable assets exceed a particular amount. This exact value is open to debate and interpretation, but generally, those with assets exceeding $1 million qualify as high net-worth.
Legal Issues for High Net-Worth Divorces
When it comes to child support, courts often handle high net-worth divorces much differently than lower income divorce cases. If parents earn more than a certain amount, usually around $300,000 per year, or $25,000 per month, the case does not follow child support guidelines. Instead, courts emphasize the particular needs of the child. Common issues the court may investigate include:
- Private educational tuition
- Expensive hobbies or sports
- The hiring of a nanny
It’s worth noting that both child support and custody cannot be predetermined in a prenuptial agreement in New Jersey and must be resolved during divorce proceedings.
Property and Investments
In high net-worth divorces, one of the most significant issues is the division of property. Property may be divided into “marital property” and “separate property.” Marital property refers to all real estate acquired or purchased by either party during the marriage. Unless there is specific paperwork claiming the property as that of only one spouse, this is usually easily dividable.
Separate property refers to all personal property acquired by one spouse before marriage or acquired by descent or as a gift during the marriage. Separate properties may seem straightforward, but if the other spouse spent money on repairs or upkeep on the property, the situation becomes more confused. As the co-mingling of properties and assets can be confusing, make sure you discuss your divorce with an expert family law attorney.
In high net-worth divorce cases, alimony may not be an issue should both parties have substantial incomes. If, however, one spouse is reliant upon the income of the other, then the lower-earning spouse may request alimony – especially if the spouse dependent upon the earner does not have adequate investments or property to support themselves. When determining alimony, the court will consider any marital misconduct, the need for longer-term alimony payments, and the necessity of temporary alimony payments until a court makes a determination.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today
Divorce is never enjoyable – especially if large sums of money are involved. If you are seeking a divorce, it is always advisable to talk with an experienced divorce lawyer beforehand. This is especially true in the case of high net-worth divorces. With so much on the line, you can’t afford to not have the best attorney possible. Contact the Law Offices of James C. DeZao today at 973-808-8900 today for your free consultation.