There is an expression that no good deed goes unpunished. When an individual is successful in his or her career, or has accumulated assets, those assets and/or the income stream from employment are subject to issues involving equitable distribution, child support and spousal maintenance in a divorce case. High net worth individuals often have real estate assets, stocks, bonds and interests in corporations. The division of these assets can make a divorce proceeding complex. Individuals with high net worths often have interests in businesses or corporations which can create significant problems if the division of these assets are not handled in an appropriate manner.
Marital Property and Separate Property
Marital property refers to assets accumulated during the course of the marriage. Separate property involves assets accumulated prior to the marriage. Assets which were acquired prior to the beginning of the marriage are exempt from equitable distribution with the exception of circumstances where the marriage itself or the spouses had an impact on the value of the property during the course of the marriage. Marital property encompasses all assets accumulated during the course of the marriage. It does not matter whose name the title to the assets are in.
Division of Marital Assets
The division of marital assets involves the appraising of the value of the marital assets. In addition, concerning the issues of spousal maintenance, the specific financial needs of the non-monied spouse are taken into consideration with regard to the issue of spousal maintenance (which was formerly referred to as alimony). The courts look into the contribution of each spouse to the appreciation or development of the assets of the marriage.
Addressing the Issues in High Asset Divorces
Should you anticipate you may be involved in a divorce situation, it is important to hire an attorney as early as possible. This may assist you in maintaining control of your assets and developing presentations for the judge handling your case regarding your contributions concerning the development and existence of these assets and/or minimizing the contributions of your spouse concerning the acquisition of these assets. This type of presentation is helpful in allowing you to maintain a significant portion of your assets at the time of trial or settlement of your divorce case.