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High Net Worth Divorce Attorneys In Scottsdale, AZ
When you and your spouse have accumulated significant assets together, you may have serious concerns about how that property will be handled in a divorce.
However, it is likely even more concerning if each spouse has their own high net worth assets.
High net worth couples face unique challenges when going through property division in the divorce process.
Thankfully, the Arizona divorce process has some built-in rules to address specific assets that are yours or your spouse’s alone.
Having a divorce attorney who can help you use these tools effectively is a huge part of ensuring that your divorce is fair to both spouses.
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What is High Net Worth Divorce?
In general, high net worth can mean any couple that has substantial assets. However, many financial experts consider someone “high net worth” if their assets (excluding their home) are worth over $1 million.
Anyone who has assets that total over $5 million is considered “very high net worth,” and someone who has assets over $100,000 but under $1 million is “sub high net worth.”
Because the assets are more substantial in this type of divorce case, these cases are often more complex, as well. That means that your divorce process could be tricky, too.
Having an attorney who has experience with high net worth divorce is vital to ensure that he or she has the knowledge you need to address issues that simply do not come up in the average divorce.
Separating Property in Arizona Divorce
Arizona is a community property state. That means, for the most part, that if the couple acquired the property during their marriage, then it is considered community property or marital property—owned equally by both spouses.
If the property was acquired before the marriage, it is generally separate property. Separate property can also include:
- Inheritance funds or property
- Funds that are traceable to separate property
- Anything that the spouses agree is separate property (often through a prenuptial agreement)
Defining separate property or funds that were the result of separate property is even more important in a high asset divorce.
There is an assumption that all property acquired during the marriage is marital property unless you can prove otherwise.
Having a forensic accountant help you trace funds from the separate property could end up saving you thousands of dollars in some cases because it will allow that asset to be excluded from Arizona’s community property treatment.
Unique Assets in High Income Divorce
The average divorce has some shared assets, like the house, a few vehicles, and bank accounts. It may also have a retirement account and some general debts.
High net worth divorces involve an array of complicated assets such as:
- Business holdings or assets
- Real estate holdings
- Investment or securities portfolios
- Valuable artwork or other collections
- High-end vehicles
- Multiple homes or vacation properties
- Expensive jewelry
- Complex retirement accounts
- Trust interests
- Recreational vehicles
- Stock options
Valuing these assets can require that your attorney hire appraisers or other experts to estimate what the property would be worth if it were sold.
Unfortunately, spouses have an increased interest in attempting to hide assets if there is more property or money at stake.
Having a divorce lawyer, law firm, or team of attorneys on the lookout for any and all assets, even if they are more complex, is vital in high net worth divorces in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Dividing Some of the Most Common High Value Assets
High worth individuals use a lot of the same types of assets to protect their wealth or as investment vehicles.
Below are a few of the most common types of assets and an overview of how those may be divided in a divorce.
Many high net worth couples have an ownership stake in one or more businesses. That stake can be alone or as part of a partnership or corporation.
Business interests must be divided just like other assets. The first step is to value the company as a whole.
Then, the couple can decide whether it makes sense to remove one spouse so that the other can continue the ownership interest or sell the stake and split the proceeds.
Although continuing the business together is an option, many couples choose not to do that because it can be very difficult to run a business with an ex-spouse.
High net worth individuals will often use trusts to protect assets. However, if any of the funds that were placed in the trust were earned during the marriage, then the trust could be a marital asset as well.
Nonetheless, locating the trust and examining how funds got into the trust can be a challenge.
Real Estate Holdings
Real estate, apart from the marital home, can be a good way to invest funds for high net worth individuals. That means that property may need to be sold or exchanged to ensure an equitable division of property.
Addressing multiple properties, especially when they are located outside of Arizona, can be a significant challenge.
Addressing Child and Spousal Support
Child support, in part, is determined by the respective income of both parents and the parenting time arrangement.
The parent that earns more will often have to pay child support to the other parent to ensure that the child has access to relatively equal resources.
However, in high net worth cases, your divorce attorney may need to ask the court to alter the normal child support calculation to serve the best interests of the child.
Spousal support or alimony is also somewhat common in high net worth divorces. In many circumstances, one spouse may earn significantly more than the other or have assets that provide financial stability that is theirs alone.
Spousal maintenance is often used to help the lower-earning spouse obtain stability after the divorce and is determined upon the court’s review of the relevant factors.
Our BTL child custody attorneys can help you figure out a situation that works for all parties involved.
Getting Help with a High Net Worth Divorce in Arizona
Those who have unique assets have unique legal needs. They need a law firm with experience dealing with more complex assets and higher stakes situations. Burggraff Tash Levy can help. Call our Scottsdale family law attorneys today to set up an initial consultation.