Divorce can be complicated and potentially expensive, but the stakes are even higher in high net worth divorces. Unless you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage, or a postnuptial agreement afterward, you could lose a large share of what you are entitled to if you do not have skilled representation at your side. Those who have worked hard to acquire wealth have more at risk than others. High-net-worth individuals need an attorney with experience handling these types of cases to reduce their risk and ensure that the end result is a full and fair asset distribution. Our culture of excellence at the McConnell Family Law Group demands that we deliver exceptional work and client service in the most efficient manner possible.
How to Best Protect Your Assets in a High Net Worth Divorce
- Hire the right lawyer. It is imperative that you retain a lawyer who is capable of helping you to think clearly and strategically as you prepare to overcome one of the most challenging experiences in one’s life: the breakdown of a marriage. Your lawyer must also be well suited to guide you through the legal and financial minefields of divorce to ensure that your future will be one that is bright, and financially secure. Decisions in the context of divorce are significant; the consequences of which may prove to be life-long. As such, while considering who to retain, choose wisely.
- Accurate Valuation. Beginning at the initial consultation, our attorneys emphasize the importance of gathering all the facts before engaging in meaningful negotiations. Without proper evaluations – to include analyzing various tax implications - your spouse might end up with more valuable possessions simply because of careless due diligence. Agreeing to terms for alimony or division of assets and liabilities without due care, in an effort to speed up your divorce is imprudent. Patience indeed is a virtue; a secure and more joyful future is a guarantee for those who exercise it. At the McConnell Family Law Group we maintain ongoing relationships with numerous different experts from several professional fields (e.g. forensic accountants, actuaries, appraisers, certified divorce financial planners, and others).
- Transparency. Some mistakenly believe it is wise to transfer their valuable assets to a third party, such as a business partner or child from a former marriage, only to discover how foolish it was, and at their expense. Such transfers can and most likely will be set aside as fraudulent. When this occurs, the spouse who attempted fraud will lose the most important thing they have to offer in a court of law - their credibility. Attempting to hide assets is undoubtedly not worth the consequences.
- Avoid Comparison. Every divorce is different, so everyone’s case is different. It is unwise to compare your case to anyone else’s as it is impossible to ever get “the whole story.” One judge might not rule the same way as a judge in a different, or even the same jurisdiction, laws change, and you and your spouse’s choice of lawyers could also affect the outcome of your divorce. Accordingly, because no two divorces are alike, it is best to deal with your own, in light of your unique circumstances, and with confidence in knowing that with proper counsel and advice, you will be awarded the best possible outcome. Find an attorney that you trust as this is perhaps your most important decision as you embark on this important journey that is comparatively short in duration, but will have timeless implications.
If you are the primary breadwinner in your household, or earn significantly more than your spouse, you may have to financially support your spouse. The duration of this support depends on how long the marriage lasted, and each of your contributions to the marriage. Spousal support payments are taxed which will be factored into negotiations to work toward an agreement that both you and your spouse can move forward with. The tax consequences of alimony is changing significantly in 2019 and must be considered in the analysis and negotiations, even in 2018. While alimony is governed by statute, the application of the law is subjective and varies in different parts of the state and from Judge to Judge. The presentation of competing arguments with respect to alimony is of paramount importance to maximizing success for our clients.
Transferring assets in a high net worth divorce often leads to significant tax consequences. To avoid this, your accountant and divorce attorney should collaborate to craft an asset division plan that minimizes your tax liability as much as possible.
Excessive marital spending
When one spouse earns significantly less than the other, it is not uncommon for that spouse to begin withdrawing large sums of cash before the divorce is finalized. If your spouse commits such acts, inform your attorney. These expenses may count toward your spouse’s final settlement.
If you happen to have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, be sure to reevaluate it every couple of years. The circumstances of a marriage often change and evaluating it during times of harmony can insure that each partner’s assets are protected in the event of a divorce. Here is more information with respect to our prenuptial practice.
Contact Attorneys with expertise in High Net Worth Divorces
Contact McConnell Family Law Group today for a consultation. Our boutique matrimonial and divorce law firm has over 50 years of combined experience and serves clients throughout Connecticut with offices in New Canaan, Hartford, Stamford (by appointment), Greenwich (by appointment) and New Haven (by appointment). No matter what legal challenges you are facing in divorce and family law, we have the experience, resources, and dedication to help you.
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