You and your spouse may have acquired significant earnings, assets and property during your marriage over the years. Unfortunately, this can make for a complicated divorce process. You may be at risk of significant economic losses during a high-asset divorce case in California. A Mountain View high-asset divorce lawyer can represent you to protect your rights and improve the chances of a positive case outcome. Contact Schoenberg Family Law Group for a consultation with our Mountain View family attorneys today.
Why Choose Us
- We provide thoughtful litigation and personal attention that can make all the difference during your divorce or legal separation case. We treat our clients with compassion, respect and honesty.
- Attorney Debra Schoenberg is a certified family and divorce, law specialist. This means she has met additional requirements in family law to become certified by the State Bar of California.
- Our lawyers will help you establish your priorities and choose your battles. We can represent you with effective advocacy both in and out of the courtroom in Mountain View.
What Is a High-Asset Divorce?
A high-asset divorce describes the dissolution of a marriage between two people who have acquired valuable properties and assets during their union. Any couple that has a complex marital estate with mixed types of properties and high-value items will need to pay attention to special considerations during a divorce. High-value assets can refer to many different types of belongings acquired throughout a marriage.
- Valuable items or collectibles, such as automobiles and artwork.
- Expensive electronics.
- Jewelry and family heirlooms.
- High-value real or personal property.
- A jointly-owned business.
- Complex investments, such as retirement accounts or 401(k)s.
- Intangible assets, such as intellectual property.
A high-asset divorce entails a complicated financial network between you and your spouse. Before you begin the divorce process, you will need to fully evaluate and understand your financial situation, as well as obtain the required financial documents for your case. A lawyer can help you obtain copies of financial records and successfully navigate the complexities of your high-asset divorce case in Mountain View.
How Do the California Courts Handle High-Asset Divorce Cases in Mountain View?
California uses an uncommon law to handle property division during divorce cases community property law. Under this law, a judge in California will divide all community property down the middle, regardless of whether this will be fair or equitable for each spouse. This process differs from that in equitable division states, in which a judge will divide property and debts based on what is fair for each spouse according to the specific situation.
If your divorce case goes to trial in California, a judge will divide everything in half, giving 50% to you and 50% to your spouse, even if you were the main earner during your marriage. It is even more important to hire an attorney to protect your rights if you own valuable assets as part of community property. A lawyer can increase the odds of achieving a settlement with your spouse and avoiding a trial, leaving you in control of the division of your high-value assets.
Community vs. Separate Property
Community property, also known as marital property, generally refers to all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Separate or nonmarital property are the assets that were brought into the marriage by each person. If one spouse received any gifts or inheritance during the marriage, this will also be classified as separate property for legal purposes.
If you and your spouse commingled your assets after getting married, this can turn separate property into community property. Commingling funds or assets means to mix separate assets together during the marriage, such as combining separate bank accounts into a joint account, making your spouse the co-owner of your business or adding your spouse’s name to a property title.
The courts in California will divide community property in half in a divorce case, but it will not have the power to touch your separate property. This makes it critical to correctly identify each type of property in your high-asset divorce case, as this will determine whether or not 50 percent of the asset will go to your ex-spouse in a court case.
Alternative Dispute Resolution and High-Asset Divorce Settlements
Divorce settlements are typically preferred over trials for a variety of reasons. Reaching a settlement with your ex-spouse can save you considerable time and money, as well as allow you to avoid the headache of going to court. A settlement is private and takes place out of the public eye, which can be important for high-profile or celebrity divorce cases. In addition, you remain in control over the outcome of a divorce settlement. If your high-asset divorce case goes to court, on the other hand, you give control of property division to a judge and are subject to the policies of California law.
Despite the benefits that can come with a divorce settlement, this outcome is less likely in a high-asset divorce case. This is because there is typically greater contention between both sides of the case when valuable assets are in the mix. The couple is less likely to work together or compromise to reach an agreement on how to divide marital assets, as well as unlikely to resolve other aspects of the divorce, such as alimony and child support. You can improve the odds of achieving a divorce settlement in Mountain View, however, by hiring an attorney.
A divorce attorney can represent you during settlement negotiations in an attempt to achieve a collaborative divorce. Your lawyer can attend mediation on your behalf, for example, or go through other forms of alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration. Through an unbiased perspective of your high-asset divorce case, your lawyer may come up with solutions that you did not consider on your own. This can improve the chances of compromising with your ex-spouse and remaining in control of how your valuable assets are divided. If a settlement is not possible, an attorney can represent you at court to fight for the best possible results,
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements With High-Asset Divorces in Mountain View
One of the most common ways individuals protect themselves during high-asset divorces is with prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. These are legally binding documents in which a couple agrees to divide assets and debts a certain way should the marriage end in divorce. If a divorce does occur, the courts will uphold the terms of a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement — allowing you to arrange a settlement outside of California’s 50/50 division law. Working with a family lawyer from the beginning of your marriage can help you protect your high-value assets using tools such as prenups and postnups.
FAQs About High-Asset Divorce
If you are facing a high-asset divorce case in California, you most likely have a lot of questions about what the future holds for you and your family. At the Schoenberg Family Law Group, we offer case consultations to prospective clients so that you can have your questions answered by an attorney. A lawyer will listen to your story and give you tailored legal advice. In the meantime, however, we hope that these answers to a few frequently asked questions (FAQs) can help:
- Who gets the family home? The answer to this question can be up to you if you and your spouse can achieve an uncontested divorce. With assistance from an attorney, you may be able to find a solution for homeownership that works for both of you. Otherwise, you may have to sell the house and split the proceeds with your ex-spouse.
- How do the courts divide a shared business? First, you will obtain a business valuation to determine how much the business is currently worth, including its cash flow and real estate. Then, you will decide what to do with the business. One spouse can keep it in exchange for other marital property, one spouse could buy the other out, you can liquidate the business and split the proceeds, or you can both continue to run it together after the divorce.
- How are retirement plans divided? The courts will make a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO, which will determine the percentage of the retirement account that each spouse will receive, as well as when he or she will receive the money. The amount given to each party is determined by factors such as how much the contributor was paid and how long the couple was married.
- How can I find out if my spouse is hiding assets? Hire an attorney to explore this possibility for you during the discovery phase of your divorce. An attorney can hire forensic accountants and other professionals to search for hidden assets. Your spouse is legally obligated to disclose all income and assets accurately. Hiding assets can result in serious legal repercussions.
- What are the tax implications of a high-asset divorce? Working with an attorney can also help you understand the tax implications of property division in California. Your attorney can protect you from excessive taxation as much as possible, working with a tax accountant to settle all related problems in your final divorce settlement.
- Am I eligible for spousal maintenance/alimony? You may qualify for spousal maintenance in a high-asset divorce case if there is a disparity between what you earn and what your spouse earns. In California, there is rehabilitative and permanent spousal support, with rehabilitative being more common. Rehabilitative alimony lasts until the recipient is able to become financially independent.
For more information about your particular case, as well as tailored legal guidance during a high-asset divorce case in Palo Alto, contact a divorce attorney at the Schoenberg Family Law Group for a one-on-one consultation. Every situation is unique. The best way to protect your property during a divorce or legal separation is with representation from a dedicated attorney.
Why Do You Need a High-Asset Divorce Attorney in Mountain View?
A high-asset divorce case in California is especially complex, with a lot at stake. The best way to handle the unique legal issues connected to your high-asset divorce is by seeking representation from a skilled and experienced family law attorney in Mountain View. The right attorney can help you come up with creative solutions and aggressively defend your rights during property division negotiations.
If your divorce case goes to court, your lawyer can help you provide the necessary financial disclosures and protect your separate property. An attorney can explain your rights and provide a clear, objective view of your situation along the way. This can help you understand what to expect and be prepared for the most realistic case outcome. You can trust your high-asset divorce lawyer to do what is necessary to preserve your financial future.
Contact a Mountain View High-Asset Divorce Lawyer Today
You do not have to navigate California’s property division laws alone — nor should you if you have a high-asset divorce. There is too much at stake to risk representing yourself during divorce mediation, or a trial. A lawyer can handle critical tasks on your behalf, such as filing complicated paperwork, gathering financial documents, representing you during mediation, dividing a family business, working through tax considerations and going to trial.
Hire a divorce attorney to help you protect your rights and increase the probability of a successful settlement in Mountain View, California. Contact Schoenberg Family Law Group using our online form or by calling (415) 213-2651 to speak to a high-asset divorce lawyer about your situation.