When two individuals with significant personal and business assets decide that divorce is the proper course of action, things can quickly become complicated. Protecting your financial interests in a high asset divorce is imperative in determining your final settlement or court judgment. You’ll need to hire a divorce attorney with experience in high asset divorces. For more than 20 years, The Law Office of Michael F. Suarez has seen great success in handling the divorce cases of executives, business owners and other professionals on Cape Cod and throughout Southeastern Massachusetts.
Issues To Consider In A High Asset Divorce
While even “common” topics like child support, child custody and alimony can quickly become a high-stakes battleground, there are often far more complex issues to be aware of. Here is a list of some things which are unique to high asset divorce cases:
It first must be determined whether the business interest is considered to be a marital asset or separate property. Generally, if the business interest is acquired during the marriage, using joint funds, then it is considered marital property. In this case the value will likely be divided equally between the spouses. On the other hand, if the ownership interest in the business occurred previous to marriage, or acquired with separate funds, then it will likely be considered separate.
Stock options are usually non-transferrable. Because of this, when the stock is determined to be shared marital property, the value of the stock will be determined and a portion of the value will be paid by the holding spouse in the divorce settlement.
A qualified deferred compensation account such as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan is usually considered marital property. In the case that the spouse owned the account before marriage, the pre-marital value of the account may be subtracted from the present day value of the account before the account is divided.
Assets held in a trust
In the case of marital property having been placed in an irrevocable trust, that trust cannot be altered and the assets contained in it cannot be removed and/or divided in the divorce. These assets remain in the trust until after the death of the grantor, then distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the trust. If marital assets are placed into a revocable trust (this includes a living trust, which is a common type of trust), then those assets can be withdrawn and divided in the divorce settlement. Premarital property however, is not generally subject to division in a divorce, even when placed in a trust, meaning a spouse would have no rights to these assets.
What is Equitable Distribution?
Massachusetts is an equitable distribution state. This means that according to Massachusetts family court the settlement must be fair, though not necessarily equal. Spouses usually divide property by giving specific items to each spouse or by selling assets and apportioning the proceeds. In the case of high asset divorce, this can get complicated. If the divorcing parties are unable to come to an agreement without getting the courts involved, an arbitrator or a judge will divide the property and debts in a way that is deemed “fair” under the circumstances.
Hire An Experienced High Asset Divorce Lawyer In Massachusetts
In a high asset divorce there is much to gain, but also much to protect. The first step is hiring an experienced divorce attorney who you can trust. Contact Attorney Mike Suarez today at (508) 759-1122.Photo Copyright: burdun / 123RF Stock Photo