Bergen County High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer
Many couples find untangling their financial lives challenging when they divorce, but this process can be even more time-consuming and perplexing for couples with a high net worth. These kinds of divorces are called high net worth divorces, or, less commonly, high asset divorces. These situations are extremely complex, and each spouse needs a divorce attorney with a sophisticated understanding of taxation and finance and the ability to work with financial experts to ensure that division of marital property and financial support are properly addressed.
If you are dissolving your marriage, a Bergen County high net worth divorce lawyer can help. Our knowledgeable divorce attorneys at Moskowitz Law Group will work to protect your personal wealth and ensure that your divorce settlement is fair.
Why High Net Worth Divorces are More Complicated
No rule defines a high-net worth couple, but generally, the term refers to a couple with liquid assets valued at $1,000,000 or more or a situation in which one or both spouses own a valuable business or professional practice. A couple with substantial non-liquid assets, such as real estate holdings or retirement and investment assets, could face many of the same complications when they divorce.
One of the most fundamental tasks in a divorce is separating personal property from marital property and valuing the marital property. Many wealthy couples have pre-marital or mid-marriage agreements, also known as prenuptial or postnuptial agreements,defining their separate property and how they will divide their marital property. Although courts will enforce these agreements, a spouse could challenge the enforceability of the agreement during the divorce. Even if a judge rules that the agreement should stand, the dispute could add to the stress and discord of divorce proceedings and prolong the process and increase legal fees.
Couples with substantial assets often have complicated holdings, including business interests, investments, real estate, offshore accounts and properties, collections, boats, vehicles, and similar property. Valuing these assets requires significant skill, which is why it is crucial to work with a Bergen County high net worth divorce attorney with the knowledge and resources to manage the process effectively.
Equitable Distribution in High Net Worth Divorces
New Jersey requires marital property to be divided equitably, but that does not always mean equally. Courts consider multiple factors when considering whether property division is fair, including:
- Length of the marriage
- Ages and health of each spouse
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
- Lifestyle the couple enjoyed while together
- Each spouse’s ability to support themselves after divorce
- Other factors, as appropriate to the specific couple
Most couples benefit from resolving property division issues before a divorce goes to trial. Taking a property division dispute to trial means delays due to mandatory Court procedures and the Court’s extremely busy calendar and the risk that a judge will not rule in the manner a spouse desires. A divorce trial also risks making sensitive private information public. Preparing for and conducting a trial is also very expensive.
Mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce are alternative dispute resolution options that could be helpful for resolving outstanding property division issues in high net worth divorces. Although the processes are different, all of them allow the couple to resolve their differences without a trial. Mediation and collaborative divorce help the couple reach decisions together and maintain control of the process rather than putting the decisions in the hands of an arbitrator or judge. A high net worth divorce lawyer can help Bergen County couples explore these alternative dispute resolution options.
Child Support in Bergen County High Net Worth Divorce Cases
New Jersey lays out child support guidelines that describe the minimum support each parent must provide based on their relative incomes and other factors. When a couple’s combined net income exceeds $187,200, the process is somewhat different because the guidelines only apply up to a certain amount of the parents’ income. Above and beyond that, a discretionary award of higher child support may be, and often is, appropriate. Any discretionary award is dictated by a State statute and the budget for the child.
Courts strive to provide consistency and certainty to the children of divorcing parents, and maintaining the children’s pre-divorce lifestyle is a concern the courts address through child support. A judge will use the formula to arrive at a baseline, but then they will add the discretionary sums. These additions generally cover benefits the children enjoyed while their parents were married.
A local high net worth divorce attorney can help a parent determine what costs should be included in a child support order. If the child went to private school, a judge might include tuition in child support. The paying parent might be ordered to provide funds for sports, lessons, and other extracurricular activities the child engaged in before the divorce. If the couple used an au pair or nanny, child support would likely include funds so that the child continues to receive care from that person.
Trust a Bergen County High Net Worth Divorce Attorney to Handle Your Case
The complex issues that arise in high net worth divorces require advice from a legal professional with a sophisticated grasp of financial issues and the resources to obtain expert advice. Our team at Moskowitz Law Group has extensive experience handling cases like these.
A Bergen County high net worth divorce lawyer will learn your goals and strive to meet them, protecting your personal property and ensuring a fair settlement. Give us a call today to get started.