High Asset Divorce Attorneys in Morgantown
Divorce is never easy. Untangling yourself from a marital relationship can be a stressful process regardless of the circumstances. When significant assets are involved, however, the process can become far more complicated. If you are planning to file for divorce and have a substantial amount of marital assets, it’s very important to retain a family law attorney who is adept in handling high-asset divorce cases.
At Hardy Pence PLLC, we have extensive experience in handling high-net-worth divorces and have a track record of obtaining positive outcomes even in the most complex of cases. We can protect your financial interests, make sure your marital assets are divided in a fair and equitable manner, and provide you with the support you need during this difficult time.
The Risk of Hidden Assets in High Net Worth Divorces
While a high-asset divorce case follows the same legal principles as a regular divorce, divorce proceedings tend to be much more complicated due to various factors. One of the key reasons why high-asset divorces tend to be more complex is the possibility of one of the spouses hiding their assets.
Generally, there are many reasons why someone might hide their assets from their spouse. They might hide them just so they do not have to share them with their spouse. If they believe that their spouse has done something wrong, they might hide their assets as a way of punishing their spouse. No matter what the reason is, the issue of hidden assets can complicate the divorce process and exacerbate the tensions between the spouses.
There are many ways a high net worth individual can hide their assets from their spouse. These include:
- Parking significant sums of money in offshore bank accounts.
- Hiding assets in offshore trusts.
- Making investments and buying properties in someone else’s name.
- Setting up shell companies to hide assets.
- Investing in cryptocurrencies and other digital assets that might be hard to trace.
Apart from this, a legitimate business can also be used to hide assets. The most common ways a business can be used to hide or undervalue assets include:
- Failing to report cash payments.
- Reporting fraudulent expenses.
- Paying salaries to employees, contractors, and vendors who do not actually exist.
- Hiring family members and friends and overpaying them so that they can hold the money until the divorce is finalized.
- Undervaluing business-related assets by claiming that they have depreciated more than they actually have.
- Transferring partial ownership interests or business assets to family members and friends with the intention of getting them back after the divorce is finalized.
Valuing Marital Assets in a High Net-Worth Divorce
Precise valuation of marital assets is critical in a high-asset divorce as it can impact how the assets are divided and how alimony and child support payments are determined.
High net-worth individuals tend to own a wide variety of assets ranging from luxury cars to boats, yachts, vacation homes, income-producing real estate properties, ownership interests in businesses, intellectual property, artwork, wine, collectibles, antiques, and jewelry.
Valuing these assets can be a complicated, time-consuming task that requires the expertise of appraisers. If one spouse or both spouses jointly own a business, the business itself needs to be valued, which again can be a complicated task depending on how the business is structured, the ownership interests of the spouses, and the monetary and non-monetary contributions made by the spouses to the business throughout the course of their marriage.
Calculating Spousal and Child Support Payments
High net-worth individuals have needs that can be entirely different from others. Similarly, children of high net-worth individuals might have completely different needs compared to children in middle-class families. As a result, determining spousal support and child support payments can be complicated.
Moreover, the income level of the spouse in question might be far beyond the state’s guidelines for calculating spousal support and child support payments. In such a scenario, the court might have to look beyond the statutory limit set by the government and determine the amount of spousal support and child support to be paid and the time period it needs to be paid for – in a way that is fair for both the spouses as well as the child in question.
The Possibility of a Protracted Legal Battle
While the possibility of litigation cannot be ruled out in any divorce case, the chances of a protracted legal battle between spouses are higher in a high-asset divorce. When there are substantial assets at stake, the disagreements between the spouses can become greatly exacerbated, which in turn can increase the possibility of litigation.
If and when the case does go to trial, it can drag on for several months or longer – depending on the circumstances. This can make things very costly for both sides and significantly delay the finalization of the divorce and the ability of the spouses to move on with their lives. As with any marriage dissolution case, it is preferable to work out a settlement between the spouses without the need to litigate. But this is not always possible. This is why individuals in this situation should work with an attorney who is both a skilled negotiator and a strong litigator.
Choose the Trusted Morgantown, WV High Asset Divorce Attorneys to Protect Your Rights
At Hardy Pence PLLC, we know that in a high-net-worth divorce, there is a lot on the line, and the outcome can have serious long-term consequences for the parties involved. We are familiar with the unique challenges and concerns associated with these cases and can provide you with strong legal representation to achieve the most favorable outcome possible.
We work with appraisers, business valuation experts, forensic accountants, tax experts, and financial planners and can make sure all your marital assets are valued and divided in a fair and equitable manner. Call us today at 304-345-7250 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.