December 18, 2018
Getting a divorce can be a stressful experience for most couples. However, those couples who are considered high income earners and have a large asset portfolio may find the process even more stressful and complex. It’s important to retain a law firm that specializes in Virginia high-net-worth divorce cases.
Virginia is what’s known as an equitable distribution state. It is not a community property state where things are typically split 50/50. The courts have discretion to take different factors into account that could change their decision on how to divide marital assets. The idea of equitable distribution is that both partners walk away with a fair split of the assets.
Here are several things to know about high-net-worth divorces in Virginia.
Prenuptial and Post-Marital Agreements
It’s common to find prenuptial and post-marital agreements used in high-net-worth marriages. Depending on the terms of the agreement, some spouses may choose to challenge the enforceability and validity of the agreement based on a number of causes. It’s important you have your agreement prepared by a family law attorney and have your future spouse review it with their own independent counsel. This reduces the risk of having your agreement declared invalid during a divorce.
The theory of equitable distribution extends to spousal support, or alimony. The court can require the higher-earning spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse depending on:
- How long your marriage lasted; and
- What their standard of living was like during the marriage.
If you and your soon-to-be ex own a family business together, it is highly recommended to have an expert provide a valuation on what the business is worth. It’s important to note there may be a number of restrictions regarding withdrawals and transfers.
Property division is often one of the topics that makes a high-net-worth divorce so complex. Couples may have multiple residences, vacation homes in other states or countries, yachts, and other assets that are located out of the country. If you have a lot of separate property, there are instances where commingling funds might make something you perceive as separate property be marital property now.
If your divorce is contested and your spouse wants you to wind up with “nothing,” there may be a chance he or she is hiding assets or liquidating them in hopes of preventing you from getting any proceeds. This may require retaining an expert, like a forensic accountant. Forensic accountants can do more than just provide a business valuation total, they can look for hidden assets and uncover attempts at liquidating known ones.
Retaining a Virginia Divorce Attorney
These are just some of the issues high-net-worth couples may encounter during a divorce. There are many other complex topics that can arise. If you are preparing for a complex or high-net-worth divorce, you need a Virginia divorce attorney who has access to the resources and experts needed to protect your assets and your rights. Contact Cravens & Noll PC at 804-330-9220 to schedule a consultation at one of our five conveniently located offices in Western and Central Virginia.