Winston-Salem & Greensboro High Net Worth Divorce Attorneys
Informed guidance for complex financial divorce matters in NC
Divorce is always a challenging situation, but when high assets are involved – like significant wealth, businesses, and retirement accounts – property division and other matters can get complicated. It is important to take many factors into consideration when going through a separation or divorce to protect your interests as well as those of your children.
At Hartsoe & Associates, P.C., we understand the details and complexities that come with a high-asset divorce. We work to ensure equitable distribution of your marital property, and that all of your assets are properly valued. Our family law attorneys have over 25 years of experience helping clients move through the divorce process smoothly, efficiently, and fairly.
What makes high net worth divorce different?
High net worth divorce, also called high asset divorce, is when couples in higher income brackets go through the divorce process. Couples with high assets tend to share several things in common:
- Married for more than 10 years
- Mid-thirties or older
- Children are grown or close to grown
- One or both spouses are professionals
- Own a business
- Significant amount of marital property
Additionally, when divorcing, the main disputes tend to revolve around three main issues – child custody and support, spousal support, and property division. Because of the amount of assets involved, these matters can get complex and some couples are unable to come to agreement. Our Winston-Salem attorneys can help.
Key issues to consider during high asset divorce
Many aspects of the divorce process are the same for any couple – no matter what income bracket you may fall into. However, some are a little different. If you are thinking about divorce, ensure you discuss the following with an experienced Greensboro lawyer.
North Carolina law details how the court must calculate child support when assigning it to a parent. However, when the parents earn over $300,000 annually (or over $25,000/month), judges are not required to follow any guideline. Instead, they must review the case with the reasonable needs of the children in mind, along with the ability of each parent to provide the proper support.
Put simply, when parents are in a higher income bracket, the court has much more discretion when assigning child support. A judge may take into account things like private school tuition, child care or nannies, college funds, or costly lessons or summer camps.
The court also considers spousal support, or alimony, if one spouse is financially dependent on the other. State statute defines a dependent spouse as “a spouse, whether husband or wife, who is actually substantially dependent upon the other spouse for his or her maintenance and support or is substantially in need of maintenance and support from the other spouse.”
Judges have the discretion to award, or not award, alimony for the amount and time they find appropriate. There is no mandatory formula or guideline. It is worth nothing that North Carolina law also allows the court to take marital misconduct into consideration when deciding on alimony matters. Other factors the court considers include each spouse’s:
- Age, physical and mental health
- Current earnings and earning capacity
- Current standard of living
- Educational background
- Separate property
- Tax consequences of the divorce
A dependent spouse can seek support either post-separation or post-divorce. Ask our legal team for details.
Division of property
Distribution of property and debts is another important aspect of the divorce process. With a high asset divorce, this step must be performed properly and thoroughly. Equitable distribution begins with classifying property into separate and marital. Just as it sounds, your separate property is anything you acquired before the marriage, plus gifts and inheritances specifically designated to you. Marital property is anything you and your spouse acquired during the marriage.
Often, this is where issues can become complicated. Assets one spouse thought were separate may have become commingled during the marriage, turning them into marital assets. One spouse may attempt to conceal assets from the other (which is against the law). The attorneys at Hartsoe & Associates can work with you to ensure all assets are classified correctly and fairly.
If you and your spouse own a business, or have interest in a business, it is vital to perform a business valuation before making a property distribution settlement. Making an inventory of all the assets and debts of the business give you a thorough financial picture for equitable division purposes. A business valuator can analyze tax returns, stock options, payroll, and assets to ensure all assets – and liabilities – are on the table when it comes to negotiating your divorce agreement.
Will my premarital agreement hold up in my divorce?
Premarital agreements (also called prenups) are common in high net worth marriages. Typically one or both spouses have a lot at stake and rightly want to protect that. Premarital agreements, when executed properly, are binding legal documents and are enforceable in court. There are, however, rare circumstances where they will not:
- One party was forced to sign as a condition of marriage
- One spouse purposely did not fully disclose assets
- One party signed under duress or fraud
Scenarios like this can make a premarital or postmarital agreement unenforceable in court.
Experienced divorce lawyers for when you have a lot at stake
The family law attorneys at Hartsoe & Associates, P.C. understand that you have worked hard for everything you have. We want to help ensure that you end the divorce process feeling safe and financially secure, for the future of you and your children. Talk to us today for strong representation. We serve families and clients in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, as well as the Piedmont Triad. To schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney, please call 336-725-1985 or fill out our contact form.