A divorce can be one of life’s most trying events, both emotionally and financially. When a divorce involves a high-net-worth individual (HNWI), an already stressful circumstance can quickly turn complex.
Working with the right high-asset divorce attorney who has both a broader and more in-depth understanding of these specific types of separations can mean all the difference between protecting your financial assets and losing something you may have worked a lifetime to acquire.
The key to a successful outcome is having solid representation and clear expectations for what the process will yield.
10 Common Concerns Individuals Have When Facing a High-Asset Divorce
1. Among the more common questions asked at the beginning stages of divorce is whether the individual will come out with the majority of their finances still intact, what resources and assets they may be entitled to, and what assets will need to be relinquished or divided. Once you’ve ensured you’re working with the right legal team, the answers will come into focus once the proper documentation is disclosed during initial consultations. The requested documents will help lay the groundwork for a better understanding of how your situation stands.
2. Many HNWIs will choose mediation over trial because of privacy concerns. In order to avoid public record, mediation will serve as a solution to avoid becoming fodder for scrutiny. While privacy is a primary reason for parties to choose mediation, the process also results in the settlement of 85%-95% of cases. Mediation is also a quicker and less costly alternative to the more structured process of litigation in court. The process of mediation, much like legal proceedings, requires extensive planning and organization including valuing, planning, negotiations, and agreement to reach the desired outcome.
3. For clients, the issue of time is of significant importance. For many HNWIs, busy schedules and lives will lead them to want to know a timeline for the process. HNWIs often have complex assets, and the services of appraisers, evaluators, and forensic accountants may be required. In order to become organized and informed when it comes to assets and valuation, a legal team requires time to ensure every aspect of a client’s finances are closely reviewed to ensure the most favorable outcome.
4. Among the chief concerns of a HNWI is the need to assess what kinds of lifestyle changes to expect. The greatest financial adjustment to lifestyle comes from the realization that assets may have to be divided equitably. A client’s net worth and income stream will be impacted as a result of divorce or legal separation.
5. Determining maintenance is another concern for clients. A court will focus on the length of a marriage, the financial circumstances of each respective partner, their health and educational backgrounds, and then determine how to divide property and/or assets, among other common factors.
6. Business owners and entrepreneurs look to understand how a high asset divorce could potentially impact their company and others who hold a stake in it. Individuals with equity interest in a business (i.e. doctor sharing a practice with other physicians or partner/shareholder in business) will have much to consider in the event of a divorce. Dividing shared interest in a business can be complicated, especially in a position where there are no other assets. An experienced attorney will likely convene a meeting with you and your partners to lay out expectations.
7. Many clients often inquire what is allowed to be subpoenaed in the event of legal divorce proceedings. During the discovery process, subpoena power is broad, and a significant amount of information can be gathered.
8. Communication with a former spouse is another concern for many clients. If both parties are open to civil communication, then communication is not always discouraged. However, in the event verbal communication is not an option, it’s best to maintain written correspondence. Copies of emails and texts can be saved and shared with your attorney should the need arise.
9. Looking to avoid mistakes is something any HNWI hopes for when it comes to a high-stakes divorce. To avoid the pitfalls of a costly divorce, the first step to protecting your wealth will be hiring the right team to represent your interests.
10. When selecting representation, find an attorney with significant experience and a proven record serving the needs of clients like you. Familiarize yourself with the process and ask the right questions at your initial consultation.
High Asset Divorces Require Trusted And Experienced Representation
If you find yourself on the path to divorce, and you need an experienced and knowledgeable legal team to help you protect your assets, contact the Texas high-asset divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Douglas Y. York.