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Common Issues in a High-Asset Divorce

Law Office of Shelly Jean John July 20, 2022

Divorce is an emotionally exhausting life event that affects almost every aspect of your life down to the smallest details. It can also create doubts about the big picture, such as who will retain ownership of property and assets after the divorce is finalized or what assets will be sold to split the proceeds. When you are facing a high-asset divorce, it’s important to know that you have an advocate by your side who will work to protect your rights.

My firm, the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, is committed to helping individuals and families who face the complicated issues that arise in high-asset divorces. I’m dedicated to representing my clients in a wide range of family law matters, and I take the time to learn about your unique situation to help you choose the best legal path forward. I’m proud to serve clients in Ontario and Riverside, California, and throughout San Bernardino County and Riverside County.

Issues in a High-Asset Divorce

A high-asset divorce can be complicated for several different reasons. The following five are the main reasons that high-asset divorces can take more time to finalize than other divorces.

Hidden Assets

California is a community property state, meaning that all assets acquired during the marriage will be split 50/50 in the case of divorce. Sometimes, one spouse will try to hide high-value assets so that they don’t have to split them with the other spouse. 

However, this is against the law. All assets must be listed during the divorce process before the division of property can take place. If there are hidden assets, that spouse will face serious consequences. If you believe your ex-spouse is hiding assets, inform your attorney.

Shared Property

In a high-asset divorce, all types of property must be divided, even items like artwork, intellectual property, retirement accounts, vacation homes, stocks, and jewelry. Dividing artwork, for example, can become seriously complicated.

Under California law, if the asset was acquired during the marriage, then it should be split 50/50. However, this can be extremely difficult to determine when separate property (acquired before the marriage) and shared property (acquired during the marriage) are mixed.

For example, if funds from the sale of a business that took place before the marriage were used to purchase a new vehicle during the marriage, the spouse who sold the business may try to argue that the new vehicle was separate property and therefore should not be split 50/50. Speak with an experienced California divorce attorney to learn how to proceed when this issue, or any divorce issue, arises.

No Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is extremely important when an individual with high assets chooses to marry. This essential document outlines exactly how assets will be split in the event of divorce.

However, many couples choose not to establish a prenuptial agreement before getting legally married. When this is the case, assets that once belonged solely to one spouse could now be considered community property. A prenuptial agreement can help significantly in the case of a high-asset divorce. However, an experienced divorce attorney can also guide you through the process of a high-asset divorce.

Not Paying the Right Taxes

After divorce, your financial situation will change, possibly in more ways than you are aware. During the process, it’s important to be aware of the tax burdens that will come with different valuable assets. A knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you understand how the assets you retain in a divorce will be impacted by taxes.

Saying Yes to the Wrong Terms

It can be tempting to say yes to the first deal that lands in front of you to get the divorce finalized as quickly as possible. However, in a high-asset divorce, this could be financially disastrous. It can also lead to major consequences when it comes to child custody and support.

Don’t say yes before you’re completely confident that the terms of the divorce are fair to you. You may be able to retain more of your assets than you realize.

How to Prepare for a High-Asset Divorce

There are certain steps you can take to protect yourself and to prepare for the possible issues that may come up in a high-asset divorce.

Establish a Post-Nuptial Agreement

While it may be too late for a pre-nuptial agreement, a post-nuptial agreement serves the same legal purpose and can be established after the marriage is legal. A post-nuptial agreement can protect your assets and resolve financial problems before they occur.

Consider Selling Certain Assets

If you and your spouse can agree to selling certain high-value assets, this may be the best option. It can streamline the divorce process by turning the assets into cash that you can more easily split.

Don’t Seek Revenge

You and your spouse may not be able to agree on anything at all. If this is the case, you may be tempted to act out of spite or seek revenge.

Remember that you can face serious legal consequences if you attempt to hide assets or otherwise punish your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Seek a fair case in court instead. 

In many high-asset divorces, the division of assets and tax law is too complex for most individuals who are not trained in the law to understand. Working with an experienced attorney can help you secure the best possible outcome for your future.

High-Asset Divorce Attorney Serving Ontario, California

When you have significant assets to protect, you need to be confident that you’re doing everything you can to protect your future. Filing for divorce can be an extremely overwhelming process. With the help of a knowledgeable divorce attorney, you can rest easier knowing that you’re receiving expert legal guidance during this difficult time.

I have spent decades working as a family law attorney, and I prioritize treating my clients with compassion. My firm, the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, is here to help you no matter what your family law issue might be. I am passionate about offering my clients exactly what they need, whether it’s a Lawyer For a Day or full legal representation.

The Law Office of Shelly Jean John is proud to serve clients in Ontario, California, as well as Riverside, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County. Find out how we can help with your high-asset divorce. Reach out to my firm today to schedule a consultation.