California High-Net-Worth Divorce Lawyer
Dissolving a Marriage
Whether it comes down to the logistics or the emotional repercussions of a relationship ending, divorce can become a complicated situation for couples of any financial standing. Some forms of divorce, however, bring unique challenges to the table—specifically, high-asset or high-net-worth divorce. This is particularly true when it comes to handling property division.
For divorcing couples of average wealth, there will generally be fewer assets (regarding both quantity and variety) to divide between parties. Naturally, this can make the process more manageable, with a lower risk of contention or conflict between the individuals. However, cases of high-asset divorce often feature a larger number of asset categories, as well as more assets overall.
High-net-worth divorces are unique and in a category of their own. If you are involved in a high-asset divorce, it is essential that you work with an attorney who understands the special considerations of your situation. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing out on property that you’re rightfully owed under California’s community property laws.
If you’re in need of a high-net-worth divorce attorney in the Irvine area, make sure to get in touch with the Law Offices of Lisa R. McCall today. We have considerable experience working with high-income clients, and we understand the ins and outs of divorces with larger sums of property.
How Do You Define a High-Net-Worth Divorce Case?
In essence, the idea of a high-net-worth divorce case is relatively simple. These are instances where the couple has accumulated a substantial amount of assets (of any kind) over the course of the marriage.
Assuming that this wealth and property was earned during the marriage (rather than prior), California law will deem most of it to be community property. This means that the assets are legally considered to equally belong to both members of the divorcing couple. This puts the property in a position where it must be divided equitably between the individuals—with “equitable” being left somewhat up to interpretation by the court, seeing as many assets can’t literally be split 50/50 between both spouses. This provides the individuals with leeway to argue for more or fewer assets.
Not only do high-net-worth divorce cases contain a larger quantity of assets, but they also tend to address more asset categories than a standard divorce case. For instance, a high-asset divorce in CA could include:
- Real Estate
- Security Portfolios
- Business Holdings
These divorces are also more likely to address other properties, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and more.
Are All Assets Considered Community Property in CA?
Generally speaking, the majority of assets acquired at some point throughout the marriage will be deemed community property by the California court. Even so, exceptions to this rule do exist—gifts and inheritance, for instance, aren’t considered to be community property, even if they were received during the course of the marriage.
By the same token, property that was acquired prior to the start of the marriage will not be considered community property. Instead, these assets will belong solely to the individual who initially acquired them. As a consequence, it will not be required for them to be split equitably between the divorcing partners (even if both parties previously used said assets and considered them to be shared). These assets are known as personal properties.
Tax Obligations and High-Net-Worth Divorce Cases
It is entirely possible for a divorce to take a toll on an individual’s tax obligations. If you’re unaware of how to avoid these heavy taxes, it can be easy for them to pile up as you make your way through the divorce case. Nonetheless, if the divorce is approached strategically, it is possible for the scenario to be avoided.
If you’re involved in a high-asset divorce, make sure that you’re working with a skilled tax professional throughout the entirety of your divorce proceedings. It is their job to help steer you away from the possible outcome of suffering a heavy tax burden (on top of your already complex divorce).
Paired with a trusted Orange County high-net-worth divorce attorney, you’ll have the backup necessary to make your divorce as quick, clean, and efficient as possible. As you encounter tax issues throughout the case, your attorney and tax professional work together to resolve these concerns.
More precisely, during a high-net-worth divorce case, you may run into tax issues such as:
- If I liquidate my long-term investments, how will this impact my taxes?
- If I choose to sell my home or other properties, will this take a negative toll on the taxes I owe?
- During the process of asset division, how are tax defaults dealt with?
- Is it more beneficial to file taxes jointly or independently?
Determining the Value of Your Assets During High-Net-Worth Divorce
Before assets can be divided between the parties, it is necessary to assign a monetary value to each one. If you would like these valuations to be as accurate as possible, make sure to hire a reputable financial expert to lend you a hand.
There are a few different types of financial experts that you’ll be able to choose from at this stage. For example, you could opt for a certified financial planner, or you could hire a forensic accountant. Other options include certified public accountants, business valuators, personal property appraisers, and commercial or residential property appraisers.
Don’t Treat High-Asset Divorce Like Any Other Case
Never forget that high-net-worth divorce cases are unique, and they shouldn’t be handled exactly as a standard divorce case would—especially when it comes to property division. In order to help ensure that the agreements you reach with your ex-spouse are fair, make sure to hire an attorney with extensive experience in high asset divorce.
If this sounds like your situation, then Lisa R. McCall is the divorce attorney for you. Not only does Lisa have vast experience as a family law and divorce attorney, but she has also worked with a variety of high-net-worth couples. To schedule a consultation, simply get in touch with our office by phone or through this online form.