Huntington Beach High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer
Dissolving a Marriage
Divorce is never easy, and the higher the financial standing of the couple, the harder it can get. High-net-worth divorce cases are a challenging area of family law, and they often involve complicated circumstances regarding the division of property and assets, as well as spousal support, child custody, and child support. When there are more and varied assets, high-net-worth divorce can be ridden with conflict and disputed matters. Many high-net-worth divorce cases seem to get worse before they get better. With the right family lawyer, though, even a high-net-worth divorce can end surprisingly amicably.
Having an attorney who is experienced in cases involving high-value assets that often cause heated property division disagreements can make all the difference in your case. The Law Offices of Lisa R. McCall, A Professional Corporation, has counseled many clients in higher income brackets to successfully navigate their way through high-net-worth divorce. In some instances, we have even been able to settle couples’ differences outside of court. Our law firm has 20 years of combined legal practice experience, and we understand what is at stake. It is not just money — it is your home, your family, and your life. We keep this in mind as we advocate for you and your rights in Huntington Beach, CA.
Our professional approach is backed by our commitment to considering every detail of your case and always remembering each case is unique. We carefully consider our clients’ needs alongside the facts of their cases to take the legal route that serves them in achieving an outcome as close to what they want as possible. We do not push our own agenda on our clients or approach every case in the same way. This is especially true when it comes to high-net-worth divorce.
How Are High-Income Divorce Cases Different?
The majority of divorce cases involve middle-class couples who have an average amount of wealth and property, which does not typically cause too much of a problem in most divorce proceedings. California law is straightforward as to how the law applies to property and assets in a marriage in that it is a community property state, and anything acquired during the marriage, whether property, money, or other assets, is assumed to be owned by both spouses equally.
Property obtained before the marriage date and gifts or inheritance given specifically to one spouse are considered to be separate property and not owned by both spouses equally. Therefore, these assets are not subject to division in divorce. This is where it can get very complicated when a couple’s net worth totals more than $1 million in assets. When high-income couples divorce, it is considered a high-net-worth divorce. Thus, they may encounter many problems when trying to inventory assets and agree to divide them fairly and properly according to the law. Add in alimony and child support, and the complications become more overwhelming. This is why it is important to have adequate legal representation going into your high-net-worth divorce to defend your rights and protect your assets, as well as your family’s well-being. Also, if children are involved, it is recommended that you seek legal counsel in these types of matters.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for My High-Net-Worth Divorce Case?
Individuals involved in high-net-worth divorces never regret hiring an attorney. What they do regret, though, is walking into a courtroom without one, especially when their spouse is accompanied by legal counsel. The right attorney for your case will attempt to settle outside of court before you even step into a courtroom. This is because once a judge is involved, you have less control over the outcome of your assets. If a couple can agree on the division of property and financial items, they remain in control of their assets. Furthermore, their financials are not aired in front of everyone or on display in public records.
Coming to an agreement on things that will have to be agreed upon eventually or else decided for you by the judge is in the interest of everyone involved. It is less expensive to mediate outside of court, it is less public, it takes less time, and sometimes it generates a rapport between divorcing spouses that lends well to the overall aftermath of divorcing with children involved and issues like child custody and child support.
What Types of Assets Are Involved in High-Net-Worth Divorces?
Anything that was acquired during the marriage is considered community property. This includes bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, work bonuses, real estate, security portfolios, cars, boats, business holdings, and many other types of assets. Gifts made to one individual, however, or property inherited, are not included in community property to be divided up amid divorce proceedings.
Will My High-Net-Worth Divorce Have Tax Repercussions?
When divorcing, taxes can be a factor in many financial areas, specifically involving the separation of property and assets. There are penalties for cashing out certain types of investment and savings accounts early, and even just selling property to divide the value can result in unwelcome taxes. In a high-net-worth divorce, taxes can be even more impactful. Typically, taxes are the most burdensome in the following areas:
- Liquidation of long-term investments
- Selling property, including the family home
- Tax defaults
- Filing taxes
It is recommended that individuals involved in these types of divorces enlist the help of a tax professional, preferably one who has experience in advising clients on how to navigate divorce without taking a hit from taxes. Furthermore, when properly managed, mediation can oftentimes facilitate creative ways to divide assets without incurring high taxes, which is another area in which a qualified family attorney is an ideal resource.
How Are Assets Determined in a High-Net-Worth Divorce Case?
An assessment or inventory of all community assets is taken at the onset of property division amid divorce proceedings. Everything is accounted for and valued in terms of community or personal property. It is recommended in high-net-worth divorce cases that professional financial evaluators be included when inventorying assets. Other types of financial professionals you can hire to help with the valuation of assets include property appraisers, business valuators, and certified public accountants.
If you believe your spouse is hiding assets or not revealing certain assets, or if you believe your spouse spent marital funds on an extramarital affair, you might even want to hire a forensic accountant to investigate your and your spouse’s assets. This can reveal accounts that were left out of inventory and disclose anything your spouse attempted to hide. It should be noted that individuals who do attempt to hide assets are not looked upon well by California family courts. They may even be held in contempt of court and face criminal charges.
Child Custody in High-Net-Worth Divorce
The interest of the child always comes first in terms of child custody, even in high-net-worth divorces. However, there are some areas in which the child’s interest is affected in these types of divorce cases, though it is important to remember that every case is unique and different, and specific circumstances can significantly affect a judge’s discernment over a divorce case involving child custody. In high-net divorce cases, the main difference between these cases and regular divorce cases is that the financial resources and lifestyle considerations of both parents must be considered.
The financial resources of both parents will play a role in determining which parent is the ideal option for custody of the child. Many times, custody is granted to the lower-income parent or the parent who has fewer obligations if the higher-earning parent has a demanding career or travels frequently for work. Furthermore, if one parent allows for more flexibility in terms of providing for the child’s needs and in as similar a fashion as the child is accustomed to, assuming the child’s well-being is not in jeopardy, the court may grant custody to whichever parent has the better capability to facilitate an opportune lifestyle for the child.
Courts also consider the traditional factors, such as the child’s relationship with each parent, financial needs, medical needs, the ability of each parent to provide physical and emotional support for the child, and any history of neglect, abuse, mental issues, or criminal record of either parent. When a high-net-worth divorce involves custody disputes and has a tendency for volatile disagreements regarding child custody or child support, it is important to have a reputable custody attorney advising you on the legal matters of your case to ensure your rights as a parent are protected.
What Are the Average Retainer Rates for Divorce Lawyers in Ca?
While a retainer for a lawyer in a low-net-worth divorce can cost as much as $5,000 or more in California, the retainer for a high-net-worth attorney will likely be significantly higher. Because high-value divorces are more complicated and involve more assets, they usually take more time and require more legal services. Therefore, attorneys typically increase the retainer fee for these types of cases. Furthermore, there are many different factors that can impact the cost of an attorney, which also may be factored into the retainer. For instance, if it does not look like a mediation will work, and the case appears to be headed for court, this could increase the retainer fee. Conversely, if a high-net-value divorce case is uncontested, which is rare, the retainer fee for an attorney could be significantly lower. As with any service, you should get what you pay for, so consider this when selecting an attorney to represent you.
How Do I Find a Good Divorce Lawyer in CA?
Facing divorce is overwhelming enough, and finding an attorney to represent you can be overwhelming and daunting, to say the least. Below are some tips to help lead you to the right attorney for your situation.
- The first thing you should do when attempting to find a divorce lawyer is to educate yourself on the laws of divorce and the process of filing for divorce in California. This will help you in your path to finding an attorney who has relevant experience in the specific areas that your divorce needs most.
- Ask family and friends for recommendations and read reviews online for potential family law firms that can represent you adequately.
- Schedule consultations with a few attorneys you are interested in meeting and whom you believe would benefit your case. When meeting with an attorney, evaluate your compatibility with them, test out their communication style to determine if it works for you, gauge their responsiveness, and trust your gut.
- If cost is an issue for you, inquire about an attorney’s fees upfront and select one that fits your budget.
Ultimately, you want an attorney who understands your needs specifically and is patient with your questions. The ideal attorney understands the difficulties divorcing couples face, and the right attorney for you should make you feel comfortable and be compassionate and patient in helping provide you with professional legal services. Overall, you want an attorney who you believe will be an advantage to your case and work towards gaining a potentially favorable outcome for you and your family in divorce.
Getting Legal Help for Your High-Net-Worth Divorce
If you are in need of a divorce attorney with experience in high-net-value divorce cases, the legal team at The Law Offices of Lisa R. McCall, A Professional Corporation, is ready to meet with you and discuss a potential relationship. We have successful experience representing clients in family law cases, especially those involving divorce and child support. Our strength is in our skills to advocate for our clients while maintaining professionalism. We understand that your life is being scrutinized, altered, and upended. Our strong and skillful legal team wants the same thing our clients want — an optimal outcome for their families — and we can work towards that goal with fastidious and relentless commitment.
Call The Law Offices of Lisa R. McCall, A Professional Corporation, to find out more about our legal team and how we can provide the legal services you need to finalize your case and move on with your life.