High Net-Worth Divorce Attorney in New York

What factors are considered when dealing with a high net worth divorce?

If you have done well for yourself financially prior to your divorce, you want to hold onto as much of your wealth as possible. New York’s law of equitable distribution does not provide for an automatic 50-50 split but requires that each spouse get a fair share of marital property based on their relative needs and contributions to the marriage. However, what is fair is open for debate, and without capable representation, a court could assign you much less than you believe you deserve. This is especially true in high-net-worth divorces, which typically include large and complex asset portfolios. When you retain Meth Law Offices, PC, you get an experienced Chester, New York high net-worth divorce attorney. I work meticulously to gather and present all evidence relevant to assuring a fair valuation and division of assets and debts.

How divorce is different for high net-worth individuals

The threshold for what’s considered a high net-worth divorce is $1 million in assets. The more wealth you have, the more care must be taken during every step of the equitable distribution process. Certain assets may need to have their values professionally appraised, such as:

  • Investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Real estate
  • Closely held businesses
  • Fine art
  • Jewelry
  • Luxury vehicles

Each party’s appraiser may arrive at a different value, so the worth of an asset may have to be negotiated or litigated. Moreover, wealthy spouses may have received gifts or inheritances during the marriage that have become marital property that is subject to equitable distribution.

Impact of a premarital agreement on a high net-worth divorce

Wealthy individuals often take the prudent step of executing premarital agreements before the wedding. A valid prenup can expedite the property settlement. However, premarital agreements must be enforceable under New York law. Reasons for invalidating a marital agreement include:

  • Lack of transparency — One spouse did not disclose property, so the other did not know what he or she was giving up.
  • Coercion or duress — Emotional manipulation was used to override the other party’s free will.
  • Lack of legal counsel — If one party was unrepresented, the lack of independent legal advice may have put him or her at a disadvantage.
  • Unconscionability — An agreement may be so one sided that enforcing it would not be in the interests of justice.

High-net divorce proceedings can involve challenges to prenuptial agreements for any of these reasons. A court must decide on the contract’s validity before property division can begin.

Dealing with hidden assets and debt in a New York divorce

During divorce, each party is required to make a full disclosure of their property holdings. Unfortunately, not every spouse is open and honest. Wealthy individuals may have assets hidden overseas, in other states or in secret bank accounts. Some spouses might even execute fraudulent transfers of assets, attempting to put them outside the reach of the other spouse. A spouse may also have hidden substantial debt for which the other spouse is at least partly responsible.

If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets or debts, there are steps you can take prior to and during the divorce to uncover a paper trail. An Orange County divorce attorney can use the court’s subpoena power to obtain records that may give clues to the whereabouts of hidden assets. If a spouse has failed to disclose assets, he or she can be held in contempt of court. If a spouse has made fraudulent transfers, a judge can declare the transaction void, so that the assets are returned to the marital estate.

Contact a high net-worth divorce lawyer Chester, New York for a free initial consultation

Meth Law Offices, PC represents clients in high net-worth divorce proceedings in Chester and throughout Orange County. Please call 845-469-9529 or contact me online for a free initial consultation.