If you and your spouse have more than $2 million in assets, you will have what is considered a high asset or high net worth divorce case. This can make the divorce process more complicated. Hiring a Marin County high asset divorce lawyer can ensure the protection of your rights throughout your divorce. Our attorneys have more than 35 years of experience providing legal counsel in all California divorce matters, including complex and high-asset divorces. Request a consultation today to find out how we can help you.
Why Choose Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C.?
- Our lead attorney, Debra R. Schoenberg, is a certified family law specialist.
- Our law firm is committed to unparalleled customer service and high-quality legal services.
- We provide compassionate and experienced representation to our clients.
- Our attorneys have successfully handled many high asset and high profile divorce cases.
- Our Marin County family law attorneys focus exclusively on delivering tailored advice and legal strategies.
The Unique Issues of a High Asset Divorce
A high asset divorce comes with complications and considerations that may not exist in other divorce cases. Some challenges to be aware of include:
- Multiple properties owned, possibly in other states or countries
- Jointly owned business ventures
- Retirement accounts and pension plans
- Deferred compensation
- Investments that have appreciated or depreciated during the marriage
- Intellectual property
- Prenuptial/postnuptial agreements
- Spousal maintenance considerations
An experienced family law attorney in Marin County can help you prepare for and address all of these unique issues in a way that protects your property rights as much as possible.
How Does California Divide High-Value Property?
California is a community property state, where the courts divide all marital assets and debts in half in a divorce case. This means that you may have to split all of your marital property with your ex-spouse – regardless of who brought more assets or debts into the marriage. Unless you and your spouse can work together to decide how to divide your high-value assets on your own, the courts will order a 50/50 split. The only property that the courts will not touch is separate property or assets and debts you owned before the marriage.
In an equitable distribution state, on the other hand, the courts analyze the case to determine the property division arrangement that is fair (or “equitable”) for each party. If one spouse brought more property or income into the marriage, for example, that spouse may receive a higher percentage of the marital property. The California courts, however, do not take fairness into account. Even if you were the sole or primary earner during your marriage, 50 percent of everything you’ve earned and saved over the years will go to your ex-spouse if your divorce case goes to trial in Marin County.
Can You Prevent Your Ex From Getting Half of Your Assets?
The answer to this question depends on your case, but you can always protect your assets more effectively by hiring a family law attorney. An attorney will explore different ways of protecting your valuable assets during your divorce or legal separation case in California. Your lawyer will be on your side throughout the legal process, explaining the best ways to prevent a 50/50 property split. Solutions may include:
- Using a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. If you are proactive about protecting your assets, you can draft a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement before divorce is on the table. This type of agreement can determine how you and your spouse divide property in the event of a divorce ahead of time, while you’re still getting along and can compromise.
- Keeping your separate property separate. The courts cannot touch separate property. From the very beginning of your marriage, make an effort to keep separate property separate to protect yourself. Keep your own bank account rather than creating a joint account with your spouse, for example, and do not put your spouse’s name on property titles or business documents.
- Attending mediation or arbitration to reach a settlement. If it is too late to be proactive about protecting your property, you can still control a high-asset divorce case by achieving a settlement rather than going to trial. You and your spouse can try alternative dispute resolution, with assistance from attorneys, to reach a compromise on how to divide your assets and debts.
- Working with financial experts and professionals. Experts and forensic accountants can help you protect your assets. Examples include helping you prove that an asset you want to keep is your own separate property, properly evaluating how much an asset is worth to set it against another piece of property or debt during negotiations, and searching for assets that your spouse is hiding.
- Updating your will and estate plan. No matter how property gets divided during your divorce case, be sure to update your will and estate plan if you had your spouse listed as a beneficiary or the administrator of your estate. This is a crucial step in protecting your assets in the future after your divorce or separation.
Never attempt to hide assets during a divorce case. This is a crime in California that can have serious consequences. Instead, enlist help from an attorney to protect your property during a high-asset divorce. Your lawyer will do everything possible to safeguard your most valuable assets and ensure your financial future with smart legal strategies.
How to Prepare for a High Asset Divorce Case in Marin County
There are things that you can do to prepare for your high-asset divorce case. Taking certain steps can help you fully understand your financial position before you begin settlement negotiations. It could also allow you to better protect your rights during conversations with your ex-spouse or their attorney. If you can, support your case by taking the following actions:
- Make a comprehensive inventory of your personal property.
- Collect all of your financial records from at least the past five years.
- Gather any tax forms, including W-2s, 1099s and tax returns.
- Make copies of bank statements and credit card statements.
- Start to establish credit in your own name.
If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, read over this document, as well, to understand its terms. It may affect the division of your high-value assets. The agreement will only be valid, however, if the contract is legally binding. If there are mistakes on the contract, such as missing signatures or provisions that go against public policy, it may be ruled invalid and not legally enforceable in court. Once you have prepared your financial information, contact an attorney for further assistance.
How a Marin County High Asset Divorce Attorney Can Help You
A divorce lawyer in Marin County with experience handling complex and high-value divorce cases can take care of the initial required paperwork, help you understand California’s community property laws and take any other steps toward achieving a position case resolution on your behalf. Your attorney can help you divide the real estate, businesses, retirement accounts, vehicles, collectibles, life insurance policies, and more. Your lawyer can represent you during settlement negotiations to improve the chances of coming to an agreement with your ex. Finally, if necessary, your lawyer can represent you during a divorce trial in California.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Marin County, CA Today
If you have a high asset divorce case, don’t hesitate to contact Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. to speak to a divorce attorney. We have the experience, resources and personnel to provide strong advocacy and legal counsel during even the most complicated divorce cases. Our attorneys will protect your rights and best interests every step of the way, with a compassionate and realistic approach to family law. Contact us online today to request a case consultation in Marin County.