Divorce is difficult, but the process is often more complicated when significant and complex assets are involved. Although every divorcing party is subject to the same laws, a high net worth divorce presents unique challenges. You need an aggressive and experienced Greenville, SC attorney who will make sure you are treated fairly in court.
One of the biggest concerns for a high net worth party (or the spouse of one) is property division. In South Carolina, property and debt are divided between the divorcing parties according to principles of equitable distribution. This means splitting up the marital estate based on what the court considers fair, not necessarily 50/50.
If you are a high net worth individual, you may have brought significant assets into the marriage. Your goal will be to protect these as much as possible from divorce. For marital debt, the less wealthy spouse will typically want the wealthier spouse to take a larger share. Before making a division, the court has to determine which assets and debts are separate, and which are marital. This determination has consequences for both parties, and a knowledgeable Greenville, SC divorce attorney can assist.
Equitable distribution is required for every divorcing spouse who goes through South Carolina’s family courts. But high net worth spouses tend to own more complex assets and debts compared to the typical divorcing parties. Those include:
- Business interests, especially family businesses
- Professional practices and partnerships
- Complicated real estate holdings, such as vacation homes outside the state and timeshares
- Intellectual property such as patents and copyrights
- Retirement benefits, pensions, and severance packages
- Stocks, bonds, and other investments
- Boats, artwork, and other valuable collectibles
- Hidden assets
- Unusual liabilities and debts
Accurately valuating these and other assets may require the expertise of an outside professional. This can include financial planners, appraisers, certified public accountants, tax experts, and others. An experienced Greenville, SC divorce attorney will understand which professionals may be needed to help.
Hidden assets are commonly at issue in a high net worth divorce. One spouse often claims that the other is deliberately concealing property to shield it from divorce. To uncover these assets, your Greenville, SC family law attorney will need to conduct what is called discovery. This is the process used to learn relevant and important information pertaining to the divorce. In high net worth cases, these and other discovery tools may prove useful:
Interrogatories. These are written questions sent to the other spouse which must be answered under oath.
Depositions. Depositions are used to question a witness or party under oath before a trial.
Requests for production. These are written requests for the other party to produce documents and other tangible evidence before a trial.
Requests for admission. Greenville, SC lawyers use these to narrow the issues by asking the opposing party to admit or deny certain statements.
Property division is a major part of high net worth divorce. But alimony and child support must be handled during the divorce as well. The spouse of a high net worth individual will likely demand a higher amount of alimony. On the other hand, the wealthier spouse will typically try to lessen his or her alimony obligation.
The same issue comes up with respect to child support obligations. One parent may claim that the child needs more support than he or she really does. Conversely, the higher net worth parent often tries to pay as little support as possible. In most South Carolina child support cases, guidelines are used to calculate a monthly payment amount. But the court may disregard these guidelines where the parents’ combined incomes exceed $360,000 per year.
Whether you are requesting alimony or child support, or defending against either, you need a skilled Greenville, SC divorce attorney.
Contact a Greenville, SC High Net Worth Divorce Attorney Today
Regardless of which side of these issues you find yourself on, your divorce will be challenging. The attorney you hire will make a critical difference in the outcome. The right attorney will help you acquire a fair share of marital property. Your divorce lawyer will also fight for a reasonable amount of alimony and child support in your case. If you are going through divorce, let Greenville Family Law work to defend your interests. Give us a call today.