Divorce is an inherently complex process for most couples. However, by definition, a complex divorce involves substantial assets or high-income for one or both spouses. Complex divorces usually include the division of professional practices, family-held businesses, large estates, and marital assets with a high valuation. Even when both spouses are willing to cooperate, these divorces can be more challenging due to their various layers. A complex divorce demands the seasoned legal experience and knowledge of a New Jersey divorce attorney who is also compassionate and sensitive.
What Assets Make a Divorce Complex?
It is common for most divorces to include a mortgage, checking and savings accounts, and even other pieces of property. Then there are complex divorces that will involve the division of:
- Multiple pieces of real estate
- Savings accounts
- Deferred compensation
- Executive bonuses
- Offshore accounts
- Hidden assets
- Other comingled assets
- Professional degrees or licenses
- Inherited property
Each of these assets could require research to find them and to place an appropriate value upon them. This must be done early on in the divorce process in order to work towards an agreeable settlement for each spouse.
No matter what type of assets you and your spouse each have or have acquired during your marriage, it is crucial that you hire a divorce attorney in New Jersey to help ensure that the equitable and fair division of assets occurs in your divorce proceedings. Your attorney could even help you negotiate a settlement with your spouse that will keep the court from dictating who gets what.
What about Previous Legal Settlements or Awards in a Divorce?
If, at some point, during your marriage, you or your spouse received a personal injury or workers compensation award or settlement, it is also considered an asset in your divorce. However, matrimonial judges usually look at what the settlement was for and in what amounts. If all or part of the settlement received was for one spouse’s pain and suffering, it is usually considered personal property and not subject to equitable distribution in a divorce.
On the other hand, if the award or settlement was for medical expenses, lost wages, or loss of consortium, it will be considered marital property and divided based on the principle of equitable distribution. If you have questions about how a settlement or award that you or your spouse received during your marriage, it is best to reach out to a knowledgeable New Jersey divorce lawyer for assistance.
The Possibility of Hidden Assets
Especially in a high asset divorce, there is the potential for hidden or misrepresented assets or assets that seem to simply disappear. One spouse may be concealing assets to keep them from being part of the division of assets, or one spouse may value their business significantly lower than its real value. Unfortunately, for the other spouse, finding and proving the value of these assets is not easy and almost always requires the help of financial experts.
You Might be Overlooking Assets
It is also common in a complex divorce for couples to overlook some of their assets. Not because they are trying to hide or misrepresent anything but because they simply do not stop to consider what they have and what their value might be. For example, life insurance policies or even collectibles and artwork in the home or business. All assets need to be accounted for and valued when a couple seeks a divorce.
You Need the Help of Financial Professionals
In a divorce with high assets or multiple valuable businesses, not only do you need a well-versed divorce lawyer in New Jersey, but you also need a network of professionals such as forensic accountants or valuation experts. Now is not the time to skimp on professional help to try to reduce the cost of your divorce. You need professionals now more than ever to ensure that you get a fair and equitable divorce settlement.
While your attorney cannot be all of these professionals for you, they do have access to a network of experienced professionals that they trust to tackle a wide range of legal and financial issues. They rely on them to track down and value your assets. The outcome of your divorce could very well depend on what these professionals are able to uncover. Since there are no modifications to the division of assets, it is essential that all of the assets are revealed and valued before the final divorce decree is issued.
Forensic accountants and other financial professionals may be able to help with:
- Finding profits from a closely held business or professional practice to see if any of it has been hidden or transferred somewhere else
- Determining if property has been wasted, encumbered, obscured or hidden in anticipation of a pending divorce
- Locating monies owned before the marriage to determine if it is separate property and, therefore, belonging to a single spouse
Trust, Negotiation, and Creativity Go A Long Way
Whenever possible, it is best to trust your spouse unless you have an apparent reason not to. Your trust can help open the lines of communication and make it possible for you to negotiate a divorce settlement. If you are able to work creatively with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to come up with solutions to divide your assets that work for you both, the divorce process will be less time-consuming and easier emotionally on all parties involved. Your divorce attorney in New Jersey and your spouse’s attorney could help you in crafting negotiations that you can both agree on and feel comfortable with.
Help from a Divorce Attorney with Your Assets in a Divorce
The stakes are high in high asset divorce. This is why our firm employs only passionate and dedicated divorce attorneys to handle your complex divorce. If you believe your husband or wife is not being honest about the assets they are aware of or is intentionally hiding or devaluing assets, we can help. Even if you and your spouse are communicating and open to negotiating, a complex divorce must be approached and handled with a high level of care. We are here to give your divorce case the attention it requires. Call Petrelli Previtera, LLC today at (215) 523-6900, chat with a live agent, or schedule your consultation online to get started.