High Asset Divorce in California: What You Need to Know

Essential Tips for High Asset Divorce Individuals

It is devastating to divide assets after many years of hard work as a couple. As stock markets recover and investment accounts become profitable again, some high-income couples are sharing these hard earned assets. After accumulating wealth in marriage, there are several things you should be aware of when preparing for a divorce. 

High asset divorces are usually complicated since both parties want to walk away with the largest portion of the property. In such high asset cases, it is important to hire the best California divorce attorney. Some cases call for more than just an attorney. Financial specialists, tax accountant, and sometimes a psychotherapist are needed to help you handle your divorce case. When undergoing a divorce, the following tips will assist you in understanding your rights.

What Are High Asset Divorce Cases?

The family court defines these cases as cases where the couples have accumulated a lot of wealth and property. These resources include cars, pension, real estate, bonuses, boats, stocks, investments, securities portfolios and business holdings. Other high net worth individuals’ properties include trademarks, patents, copyrights, and life insurances.

What Do You Own?

This question is essential in determining high asset divorce cases. Premarital property is not shared, and thus it remains to the owner. In some states, premarital properties are also referred to as separate properties. However, community property, which is property owned by you and your partner should be valued and divided equally.

Personal Property

California family law defines separate properties of married people in different ways:

• All property owned by the individual before marriage.

• Any property that the person may have acquired after marriage in the form of devise, gifts, descent or bequest.

• Rents and profits generated from the above-named properties.

The Issue of Taxes

Divorces can sometimes burden your tax obligations. Therefore, when undergoing a high asset divorce case, it is imperative to hire a reputed tax accountant to guide you away from heavy taxes. A California divorce attorney will work with a tax accountant harmoniously to calmly settle all tax problems associated with the divorce case. Some of the tax associated issues that pose a challenge to high asset divorce cases include:

• Should the taxes be filed independently or jointly?

• What are the tax effects of liquidating your long term investments?

• What are the tax implications for selling your home and any other properties?

• How is tax defaults handled when dividing the assets. 

• Who should claim dependent child tax?

What Is Your Worth?

An expert should determine the monetary value of each asset before dividing the assets. It is, therefore, important to bring in an experienced financial expert. The best financial experts should include forensic accountants, certified financial planners, certified public accountants, commercial/residential property appraisers, personal property appraisers, and business valuators.

Arbitration or Trial

Although these cases are complex, they can sometimes be settled through arbitration. However, many times, the cases cannot be handled in mediation and go to trial. When the case goes to court, you should consider hiring a proven litigator who specializes in high asset individuals.

Steps To Follow When Filing For High Asset Divorce

High asset divorce cases are not easy to file. They are sometimes complicated, emotional and messy. Take a look at the following tips:

1. Get a Highly Reputed Attorney

The financial and legal ramification of ending a marriage will be felt for a considerable time. Whether you plan to settle the issue via mediation or trial, you should have an attorney to guide you through. Even if you are not working and your spouse is working, go ahead and get an attorney as the court may decide to pay the attorney from community assets.

2. Watch and Organize Your Financial Records

Carefully look at joint accounts, household budget, possessions, and expenses. Gather documents such as tax returns, credit statements, car titles, and bank statements.

3. Have a Plan for the Future

Going through a divorce may mean an additional budget such as alternative housing. It is also advisable to put the needs of your kids before yours. Ensure that children’s welfare, safety, and health are among your priorities.

The Impact of Social Media on High Asset Divorce Cases

Social media has arguably become part of our daily routines. Most people take personal issues to social media without thinking through their updates. Although it may offer you with some advice, social media can as well be damaging during divorce processes. The following are some of the key areas that you should consider.

1. Avoid Unfamiliar People

When undergoing a divorce avoid unfamiliar people or even the so called “mutual friends.” Information from online friends has complicated several divorce cases. With that said, it is advisable to avoid adding unfamiliar people during a divorce process.

2. Emotional Comments

Make sure that you don’t pour your emotions in social media. Emotional comments posted during the divorce period might be the only thing to nail you in court. If you appear irrational, the jury may conclude that you are not fit for custody. Keep calm, collected and mature during the entire divorce period. Before posting anything during the divorce process, ask yourself what the judge will think of your social media presence. At the same time, don’t tell people what you are going through or join dating sites.

3. Make Your Wall Private

Online pictures are another aspect that can ruin your divorce case. Ensure that you change security settings to stop anybody from adding profile pictures without your approval. Photos in fancy clubs and cars may indicate that you are spendthrift and thus unfit to get an equal share in high asset divorce cases. The best advice would be to keep off social media until you reach an agreement.

In Summary

Divorce advice for wealthy individuals needs an experienced divorce attorney to handle. Moreover, these cases require financial experts, tax specialists and sometimes psychotherapist to manage your stress. During the separation process, it is essential to protect your privacy. Careless posting on social media may come back to haunt you in the process. Although you may be wealthy, settling the case out of court is highly advisable as it may take a shorter time as well as being cheaper.


DISCLAIMER: The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Law Office of Barbara J. May and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

ShareThis Copy and Paste