Family Law Overview
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Oceanside High-Net-Worth Divorce Lawyer
Most divorces are already contentious due to the disagreements that arise from matters like property division, child custody, and spousal support. However, when a separating couple has an abundance of valuable assets, the impending divorce process can become even more complex. For individuals pursuing high-net-worth divorces in California, protecting the assets and property that belong to you is a necessity.
To make sure you receive what you’re entitled to, you’ll need the assistance of a lawyer who is well-versed in California divorce law, like the attorneys at Paula D. Kleinman, A Professional Law Corporation. With more than 20 years of experience practicing family law, we have acquired the skills to guide our clients through some of the most complex divorce cases. For assistance with high-net-worth divorce proceedings in Oceanside, California, we are prepared to offer the legal support you need.
What Is Considered a High-Net-Worth Divorce?
High-net-worth divorces, sometimes called high-asset divorces, differ from the average divorce because they involve a substantial amount of valuable property. Because California is home to a wide array of affluent community members, high-asset divorces are much more common here than in other states. For a divorce in California to be classified as “high net worth,” the married couple’s communal assets must have a total value of at least $1 million. This can include their bank accounts, real estate properties, cars, and more. Due to the significant amount of assets involved in these kinds of divorces and the complexity of them, complications can arise quickly if one spouse believes they’re not receiving their fair share. If you’re involved in a high-asset divorce in California, it’s imperative you take the proper steps to shield what’s valuable to you.
California’s Community Property Laws
Like many other states, California follows community property laws when dividing any kind of assets in a divorce. According to these laws, all assets that are collected by a couple once they have been formally married are considered to be “community” or “marital” property. This means each spouse equally owns each piece of community property they have accumulated during their marriage. Community property laws also apply to any debt that is acquired throughout a marriage, meaning that it must be split equally if a divorce occurs and that both spouses share equal responsibility to pay it back.
Common examples of community property held by married couples in California include:
- Bank accounts
- Retirement funds and benefits
- The family house
- Vacation properties or other pieces of real estate
- Furnishings from shared properties (including couches, chairs, appliances, artwork, etc.)
- Automobiles or boats
- Stocks and other investments
- Jewelry, gems, and other items of high value
Common Issues in High-Asset Divorces
Every divorce comes with different issues that are most often addressed in court. When dealing with high-net-worth divorces in California, some of the most common problems you may come across include the following.
Dividing Complex Assets Fairly
High-net-worth divorces not only involve assets of great value, but they also involve incredibly complex assets, too. Because it’s not an option to divide a family home in half, your divorce attorney and the court will have to come up with fair solutions to figure out how to divide property like real estate, retirement funds, and so on. The division of assets in a high-asset divorce is often contentious because neither spouse usually wants to sacrifice their valuable property.
Having One Spouse Hiding or Spending Assets
Sometimes one spouse will attempt to use sly tactics to hide their assets and receive a larger share of the marital property. They may try and inappropriately value their assets, improperly identify marital assets, or even try and hide them from the court. In some cases, you may also see one spouse doing a sudden amount of spending before a divorce occurs to try and take some of the shared funds away from their partner. This is considered the misuse of funds and can potentially land your spouse fraud charges. All of these tactics are deceitful and can cause an unfair divorce, which is why having legal support to represent you is fundamental.
Spousal Support Disputes
Spousal support is not automatically granted in a California divorce case. Instead, it must be specifically requested by a spouse who is worried they won’t be able to care for themselves or keep up with the lifestyle that they had before. The requesting spouse will have to provide evidence to the court that they deem substantial enough to grant support. For example, if one spouse gave up their job to stay at home so that their partner could continue furthering their own career, the court will most likely grant support. Spousal support matters often cause disputes, especially in high-asset divorces where both spouses may be used to a lavish lifestyle.
Problems With Identifying Separate Property
Every person spends their life collecting things that are important to them. That important property you own by yourself is known as separate property. Before a couple gets married, each partner can identify their separate property and take steps to protect it in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. However, sometimes issues occur where separate property and marital property become confused, or the court tries to divide separate property in a divorce. If you’re having issues defining your separate property in a high-asset divorce, make sure you seek the assistance of our family lawyer.
How To Protect Your Property in a High-Net-Worth Divorce in California
You always want to make sure you take the right steps to protect your property in a high-asset divorce, even if it’s not highly contentious. Some of the most important things you can do to protect your assets during a complex divorce include:
Find a Divorce Lawyer
Whether you’re about to get married and are looking to write a prenup or you were just served divorce papers, dealing with any legal aspects of your marriage should be done with the assistance of a skilled attorney. A divorce lawyer can help you navigate your separation as well as aid you in protecting both your separate and marital property.
Create a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements have only grown in popularity over the last decade. While no one ever hopes their marriage will end in separation, protecting yourself and your property in case it does is always a smart precaution to take. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can outline each spouse’s separate property, potential agreements on property division if a divorce occurs, and other important details regarding a couple’s marital estate. Forming these kinds of marital agreements can help to ensure that each spouse’s separate property is protected if their relationship ends in divorce.
Have All Marital Property Identified and Valued
If you’re already going through the complex divorce process here in California, it’s crucial that you have all of your assets listed and appraised. By having a professional value your assets as accurately as possible, you can combat any potential claims from your spouse that attempt to devalue or hide important pieces of property. To ensure the property division process is as fair as possible for both spouses, having the most accurate value of the assets involved can help.
Create Separate Accounts as Soon as Possible
Once one spouse files a petition for divorce in California, joint ownership of any bank accounts that were shared will be terminated. This means both spouses are not legally allowed to withdraw funds from a joint account after divorce proceedings have begun. Instead, the account will most likely be liquidated for fair distribution during property division proceedings. However, this might not stop your spouse from trying to withdraw or spend money before your divorce is filed. If you are considering filing for divorce or have already sent in your petition, make sure you keep your money separate.
How Does Child Support Work in a High Net Worth Divorce?
The type of divorce you are going through does not affect how child support is determined. Instead, the court takes a few important details into consideration and uses a basic formula to determine who should pay and how much the payments should be. The most influential factors for determining child support in California are:
- The net income of each spouse
- The amount of parenting time each spouse has
- The number of children who are involved
In a high-net-worth divorce, the high incomes of one or both spouses can cause disagreements or issues regarding child support payments. This could occur for multiple reasons, one of them being that the court decided to deviate from the state’s child support formula. This can happen in some cases where an “extraordinarily high income” is input into the formula and results in an amount that the court believes is not fit for the situation. However, both spouses may attempt to argue a decision when the court deviates from state guidelines because they have less of a basis for their decision.
What Happens if You Divorce When You Share a Business?
If you and your spouse decide to form a business together while you’re married, it is considered community property. This means both of you share equal ownership of that business, and if a divorce occurs, you must find a way to split the value of that business evenly. In some cases, one spouse may buy out the other’s share in the business to keep it and continue operating on their own. In other situations, sometimes a divorce has the power to close down a business when finances are tough. When this happens, a separating couple may have to sell their business so that they can split the profits or pay off the remaining debt.
However, if one spouse owned a business before they married their partner or inherited one before or during their marriage, that business is still considered separate property and is not subject to division during divorce.
Why You Need a Divorce Lawyer in Oceanside
Working with a seasoned divorce lawyer like the attorneys at Paula D. Kleinman, A Professional Law Corporation comes with incredible advantages. By hiring a high-net-worth divorce lawyer, you can benefit from their:
- Negotiation help. Negotiation is an inevitable aspect of any divorce. When you are dealing with assets of immense value, however, negotiation becomes even more critical to your divorce proceedings. Hiring a proficient attorney who has experience negotiating can make a massive difference when trying to settle aspects like child support, spousal support, and property division. With negotiation help from a professional, you can trust that your rights to your property will be acknowledged.
- Conflict resolution skills. High-asset divorces are well-known for being complicated due to the intricate pieces of property that are involved and the conflicts that arise because of them. In addition to having a strong negotiator on your side, having a lawyer with conflict resolution skills can help ease the intensity of your divorce. Plus, working with an attorney who practices conflict resolution can offer you the opportunity to try and agree on matters with your spouse outside of litigation.
- Experience in the courtroom. The courtroom can be an intimidating place, especially for people who have never stepped foot in one before. Because litigation involves settling contentious divorce matters in court, it is integral that you hire an attorney who has experience representing clients in high-asset divorces. This way, you can trust that your rights will be protected and fought for in the way you deserve.
Find a High-Net-Worth Divorce Lawyer in Oceanside Today
It can be hard to feel at ease when you are dealing with the consistent stress of an impending divorce. Luckily, the team of skilled family law attorneys at Paula D. Kleinman, A Professional Law Corporation is prepared to offer you legal guidance and support for a collection of your family law needs. We have first-hand experience dealing with complex divorces and are ready to approach your high-asset divorce to find solutions quickly. If you are looking for legal assistance navigating a high-asset divorce here in Oceanside, contact us to schedule a case evaluation and speak with one of our team members.