Couples with substantial means often have more complicated divorces, even if they agree about the need to end the marriage. Identifying, valuing, and dividing a wealthy couple’s marital property can be time-consuming and complex.
If you and your spouse have significant property to divide, you need a divorce attorney with specific knowledge and skills. A Suwanee high-asset divorce lawyer has the financial sophistication to provide effective representation during asset division, custody, and support negotiations.
When filing for divorce in Georgia, couples must divide their marital property equitably. This does not mean equal, but fairly under the circumstances.
Anything either party owned before marriage is separate property and will remain with the original owner. For example, the value of retirement or brokerage accounts on the date of marriage is the owner’s individual property. However, if the owner continued to make contributions during the marriage, that portion is marital property.
Gifts directed to either spouse separately rather than as a couple are also separate property. Inheritances are separate, but if the recipient used the inheritance as marital property, a divorcing spouse could have an interest in their spouse’s estate.
A divorcing couple must divide their marital property. When the couple has significant assets, reaching a fair division is complicated. Both spouses must agree on the value of each asset and then decide how to divide it.
Couples with significant resources often have complex financial holdings. Their marital assets might include the following:
Marital property division often has tax implications. Each spouse must be aware of these and factor them into the property division negotiations. A Suwanee high-asset divorce attorney has a network of valuation experts to help establish the fair value of the marital and separate property and can ensure both parties are aware of all applicable tax laws and requirements.
A couple might have a premarital or postnuptial agreement that governs property division. A valid marital agreement can simplify this aspect of divorce. However, either spouse could challenge a marital agreement.
A judge would not enforce a marital agreement if either party failed to disclose their assets and debts fully. If one spouse felt pressured to sign or did not have time to evaluate the agreement and consult an attorney, a judge could invalidate a prenuptial agreement. Additionally, Georgia courts will not enforce an agreement that is shockingly unfair—unconscionable, in legal terms.
A skilled attorney in Suwanee with experience handling high-asset divorces can review any marital agreements and advise a spouse on how they could affect their property division.
A divorce settlement must resolve questions concerning child custody, child support, and alimony. Special considerations apply to child support and spousal support when a couple has substantial assets. A Suwanee attorney can advise you about how income affects child support awards in a high-asset divorce.
For example, couples typically determine child support according to a formula. However, the Official Code of Georgia § 19-6-15(1)(2)(A) suggests that a couple deviates from the formula if they have a high income. According to the law, if a couple’s combined adjusted income exceeds $30,000 per month, they are high-income.
The amount of child support the formula calls for is the starting point for high-income couples. Courts are likely to award sufficient child support to ensure the children do not experience a significant decline in their standard of living after a divorce. Similarly, if one spouse cannot support themselves at the standard they enjoyed during the marriage, a judge could award them spousal support to allow them to maintain their lifestyle.
Many couples turn to mediation, arbitration, or another form of alternative dispute resolution to settle the outstanding issues in their divorce. These processes are especially beneficial for wealthy couples.
Alternative dispute resolution is private. The negotiations are confidential and not shared with Georgia courts. In contrast, if you litigate the divorce, information regarding property valuation, division, and other potentially sensitive issues could be discussed in open court.
Alternative dispute resolution also keeps control in the couple’s hands. The spouses decide what works best for their family and create a settlement to implement that solution. A Suwanee attorney can guide high-net-worth couples through the alternative dispute resolution process and review the divorce settlement agreement before submitting it to family court.
Money makes many aspects of life easier, but it can complicate a divorce. If you and your spouse have substantial assets, work with an attorney who knows how to protect your financial interests.
A Suwanee high-asset divorce lawyer has the knowledge and resources to provide excellent representation during your divorce. Reach out to our firm today to schedule a meeting with a qualified member of our team.