What is a High-Net-Worth Divorce?

A high-net-worth divorce has traditionally been defined as a divorce involving more than one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) in net liquid assets. Today, the amount has substantially increased, and more and more cases involve multiple millions of dollars. Nolletti Law Group routinely handles such divorce cases.

Under New York law, the equitable distribution of marital assets is generally a four-step process:

  1. Identify all assets;
  2. Categorize each asset as either marital, separate, or a combination of both;
  3. Value the marital components of each asset; and
  4. Distribute marital assets equitably between the parties, while taking into consideration the concept of “tax-impacting.”

A high-net-worth divorce usually involves unique challenges which are largely related to the identification, valuation, and distribution of the couple’s assets.

Those who have worked hard to acquire this level of wealth have more at risk than others. High-net-worth individuals need an attorney with experience handling these types of cases to reduce their risk and ensure that the end result is a full and fair asset distribution.

With decades of experience handling complex financial issues in divorce, the seasoned family law attorneys at Nolletti Law Group offer superior expertise and care to our high-net-worth clients. Our culture of excellence demands that we deliver exceptional work and client service in the most efficient manner possible.

Individuals facing a high-asset or high-net-worth divorce have exponentially more at stake than their middle-income counterparts. Our family law firm offers peace of mind to our clients involved in high-stakes divorce.

Crucial Mistakes in High-Net-Worth Divorce

The first crucial mistake that high-net-worth individuals make when they are going through a divorce is failing to hire the right lawyer.

It is imperative that you retain a lawyer who is capable of helping you to think clearly and strategically as you prepare to overcome one of the most challenging experiences in one’s life: the breakdown of a marriage. Your lawyer must also be well-suited to guide you through the legal and financial minefields of divorce to ensure that your future will be one that is bright, and financially secure. This is especially true for parties in high-net-worth divorces, where large sums of money, property, businesses, assets, and other valuable items are at stake. There is a greater risk of error in high-net-worth divorces, on both sides. One party is often angry, hurt, or feels betrayed, as divorce is an emotional experience to overcome. Those who find themselves in the struggle to overcome it do not possess a frame of mind that is capable of making the wisest decisions possible for themselves, and their children. Decisions in the context of divorce are significant; the consequences of which may prove to be life-long. As such, while considering who to retain, choose wisely.

The second mistake that high-net-worth individuals make is agreeing to any terms just to get their case over, without careful consideration. It is tempting to act on emotions, and mistakenly view accepting any and all agreement terms as an escape route out of an emotionally trying experience, or a fast track towards the person you want to be with instead of your spouse. Agreeing to terms for alimony or division of assets and liabilities without due care, in an effort to speed up your divorce is imprudent: This approach has devastating risks and financial consequences. Patience indeed is a virtue; a secure and more joyful future is a guarantee for those who exercise it.

The third mistake is hiding assets. Some mistakenly believe it is wise to transfer their valuable assets to a third party, such as a business partner or child from a former marriage, only to discover how foolish it was, and at their expense. Such transfers can and most likely will be set aside as fraudulent. When this occurs, the spouse who attempted fraud will lose the most important thing they have to offer in a court of law: Their credibility. From that point forward, the spouse will quickly discover that their actions have placed them in a losing position in achieving a favorable, even reasonable, divorce settlement. Attempting to hide assets is undoubtedly not worth the consequences.

The fourth mistake is relying on friends rather than experienced professionals, i.e., “My neighbor got a divorce and she got millions!”, or, “My friend got a divorce and he didn’t have to pay a dime!”, or “My hairdresser got a divorce and she lost everything!” etc.

Everyone’s situation is different, so everyone’s case is different. It is foolish to compare your case to anyone else’s. One judge might not rule the same way as a judge in a different, or even the same jurisdiction, laws change, and you and your spouse’s choice of lawyers could also affect the outcome of your divorce. Accordingly, because no two divorces are alike, it is best to deal with your own, in light of your unique circumstances, and with confidence in knowing that with proper counsel and advice, you will be awarded the best possible outcome.