Carmel High Net Worth Divorce Attorney

Handling High-Asset Divorce Cases

For business owners, professionals, and other individuals who have accumulated substantial assets during their lifetime, getting divorced can have significant financial implications. The same is true for spouses of high-earning individuals.

At Hains Law, LLC, we have significant experience representing spouses in high net worth divorces. Though we work closely with clients to negotiate favorable divorce settlements whenever possible, we will not hesitate to take your divorce to trial when necessary. Attorney Joshua R. Hains has more than a decade of experience practicing family law in Indiana, and he is intimately familiar with the property, tax, financial support, retirement, business ownership, and other unique issues involved in high-asset divorces.

Give us a call at (317) 588-2883 to get started on your case today with a high net worth divorce lawyer.

When Is a Divorce Considered “High Net Worth?”

A high-asset or high net worth divorce involves dividing a large marital estate.

These marital estates may include:

  • Various pension funds, retirement funds, annuity funds, IRA accounts, tax-deferred compensation funds, profit-sharing plans, 401(K)s, 403(B)s, ESOPs, ESPs, KEOGHs, IRAs, and other retirement plans
  • Various bank accounts, life insurance, and/or investment accounts
  • Fine art, automotive, and/or memorabilia collections
  • Business ownership and interests (corporation, LLC, limited partnership, etc.)
  • Various pieces of private and/or commercial real estate
  • Complex mortgages, loans, and notes
  • Large inheritance(s)

Dividing Assets in High Net Worth Divorce

Money in a high asset divorceWhether you, your spouse, or both of you have accumulated significant assets, the division of these assets is likely to take center stage in your divorce. Under Indiana’s “marital pot” rule – in the absence of a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement – all assets owned by either or both spouses will be on the table. This includes assets acquired before or during the marriage – any designations of ownership on legal titles will be ignored.

Even if you and your spouse agree to a 50/50 split, you will still have to address several challenging issues during your divorce.

For example, you’ll likely have to determine:

  • Which assets will be distributed to whom? In high net worth divorces, agreeing to a percentage split is just the first step in determining who gets what. The spouses must also agree upon a comprehensive inventory of their property, and then they must work through the process of dividing those assets appropriately.
  • What is the proper value to be assigned to physical assets? To divide your marital pot according to the agreed-upon percentages, it may be necessary to properly appraise several assets. This includes real estate, collections, antiques, artwork, jewelry, and other personal items. In some instances, divorcing spouses may obtain competing valuations, which can lead to disputes that need to be resolved before the property division process can move forward.
  • What is the proper value to be assigned to retirement and investment accounts? There are special tax rules that allow for the division of retirement accounts during a divorce, but you will need to arrive at an appropriate valuation. Like physical assets, there are various methods available for valuing retirement and investment accounts. Different methods may favor spouses with differing agendas.
  • Who will own and control your business? In a divorce, ownership interests in a privately held business are treated largely the same as all other assets. Disputes over ownership and control can delay proceedings significantly and they can potentially force divorcing spouses into mediation or litigation.
  • How can you protect items with sentimental value? In high net worth divorces, it is not unusual for spouses to be attached to certain high-value assets. Whether you want to protect your car collection or your spouse wants to keep your vacation home, issues related to sentimental value can add to the complexity of dividing a sizable marital estate.

Dividing Debt & Liabilities

In addition to dividing individual and joint assets, divorcing spouses must also divide their individual and joint liabilities.

This includes:

  • Mortgages
  • Home equity lines of credit
  • Car loans
  • Student loans
  • Credit card balances
  • All other types of debt

Spousal Maintenance in High-Asset Divorce

Although the grounds for a divorcing spouse to seek alimony in Indiana are limited, it is common for the parties to agree on an award of maintenance in a divorce where one spouse earns significantly more than the other.

The most common form of alimony in Indiana is referred to as “rehabilitative spousal maintenance.” This is alimony that is intended to allow a spouse with limited earning capacity to obtain the education or training necessary to become self-supporting. The courts will generally award rehabilitative spousal maintenance for a period of up to three years.

Child Support for High Net Worth Couples

Although child support calculations are made according to the Indiana Child Support Guidelines, high net worth spouses can face some unique issues when calculating child support obligations. Along with accurately calculating each spouse’s gross income, divorcing spouses must consider their respective child custody rights, maintenance payment rights or obligations, special and extraordinary expenses, and various other factors.

Tax Considerations in High-Asset Divorce

Tax considerations can significantly influence the spouses’ decisions regarding transfer and liquidation of assets, payment of spousal maintenance, and other property and financial considerations. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made drastic changes to the federal income tax treatment for spousal maintenance, and spouses who get divorced after 2018 must consider the new law’s effects on the overall tax burden resulting from their divorce.

Our Approach at Hains Law, LLC

Our high net worth divorce lawyer in Carmel represents individuals with high incomes. Whether you are a doctor, dentist, business owner, CEO, or professional athlete, Hains Law, LLC can help you dissolve your marriage and divide your property.

Given the complexity of high-asset divorces, Attorney Joshua R. Hains works closely with forensic accountants, CPAs, and financial advisors to ensure that our clients are well informed regarding their marital estate. With this information, you can confidently settle or take your case to trial. Our goal is to assist you in protecting your wealth and transitioning to life after divorce.

Call (317) 588-2883 or contact us online to schedule a free phone consultation today.

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