Hanover High-Net-Worth Divorce Attorney

Every divorce presents its own distinct set of hurdles. However, when a divorce involves parties who have built up a considerable amount of wealth, it is vital to work with an attorney with a full breadth of experience navigating the unique challenges that often accompany the distribution determinations involving divorces with high net worth individuals. A high net worth divorce is generally one where the couple has a minimum of $1,000,000.00 in liquid assets. The annual income of either member of the couple may vary, and oftentimes couples who are high net worth generate annual revenue through a variety of means that can be more difficult to track than a simple salary. 

When a divorcing couple has a high net worth, working with an attorney who has the knowledge, and the professional network of real estate brokers and other professionals capable of determining the present cash value of oftentimes very complex assets. An average general practitioner of law used to processing uncontested divorces may not have a financial planner in their network capable of parsing out your various mutual funds and stocks into an agreeable and equitable division within the divorce. 

Massachusetts is a state in which the equitable distribution of property is supported, however it is essential to note that “equitable” does not necessarily equal exactly even. For high equity couples, it is often impossible for certain assets to be split down the middle 50/50, and so working with a knowledgeable high asset divorce lawyer provides you with the expertise needed to capture the assets that you desire in pursuit of a mutually agreeable and equitable split of your unique bundle of assets. 

Defining a “High Net Worth” Divorce 

A common question that our prospective clients present to us is: what exactly is a high net worth divorce? While the exact definition can vary from firm to firm, oftentimes it is clarified as individuals who generate more than $500,000 annually in income, and have a net worth in excess of $5 million. High net work clients have unique assets and concerns throughout the context of the divorce that couples with a single residence and combined incomes in the $100-150,000 range. 

These numbers however are not absolute, and to determine if your case is a fit with our firm, it is best to take the time to reach out. We’ll provide you with an initial consultation to consider the facts and circumstances of your divorce, then can explain how our cost structure works, and the kinds of goals that we believe your working with our firm on your Hanover high net worth divorce will benefit your bottom line. 

In addition to the various broad categories of assets explored below, experienced high net worth attorneys are capable of helping clients with the following property and assets: 

  • Private equity holdings
  • Closely held businesses and other companies 
  • Domestic and international real-estate holdings 
  • Specialized compensation assets such as restricted stock units, stock options, and performance stock units 
  • Trademarks and royalties in intellectual property, art, and other investments 
  • Qualified and non-qualified investment portfolios 
  • Financial assets in offshore accounts 
  • High value unique objects such as art in addition to antiques collections 
  • Complex trusts and other expectancy issues such as inheritance mixed with shared assets and other factors 

To ensure that you achieve an equitable split in the property and assets associated with your family, our team of Hanover divorce lawyers works alongside an extended team of private investigators, financial exports, and expert witnesses. The purpose of working with such experts is to identify hidden assets to value exotic financial holdings or rare objects, and to draft divorce and separation agreements that provide for the equitable division of the assets of a wealthy couple going through a divorce. 

Experience is Worthwhile When Proceeding Through a High Net Worth Divorce 

Some clients might wonder whether they can process their divorce on their own, without the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney with experience in their local courts. While this might be the case, such an individual would be at a marked disadvantage when working with an ex-spouse who is represented. The fact of the matter is, the more assets that are involved in a divorce, the greater the complexity of achieving a truly equitable division of property. 

Couples with high assets going through a divorce often have contested divorces given the difficulty of coming to a mutual decision and agreement as to how to divide the marital property. As Massachusetts is an equitable division state, the way in which property and particular objects and assets are divided are subject to interpretation and negotiation, with facts and evidence playing a central role in the process. 

Our Hanover high-net-worth divorce attorney team can safeguard your financial interests while working to help you achieve a fair result in your property distribution. By entrusting your legal matter to a firm with over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, you can rest assured that your divorce case will get the attention it deserves and that the protection of your financial assets is of our utmost concern. When you do not take a proactive approach to the identification of assets, it is possible that some are moved without your knowing, and forever removed from the prospect of being incorporated into the divorce proceedings. 

Potential Challenges In High Net Worth Divorces

Not surprisingly, couples in the highest tax brackets generally tend to have more assets than others. The number of assets generally available to high-net-worth couples that must be divided, as well as the fact that the couple’s estate has likely been protected by placing it into trusts rather than held personally, automatically create a situation where the case is more complex. Attorneys who engage in general practice and are happy to take on uncontested divorces are oftentimes entirely out of their league when it comes to high equity divorces, and a lack of experience on behalf of a lawyer will ultimately cost you money. 

The highly experienced attorneys at our firm likewise are knowledgeable about general tax subjects, however, we do not offer binding tax advice, and have a network of tax professionals to refer you along towards. One of the key benefits of working with O’Connor Family Law and our Hanover high net worth divorce attorneys is our teams of parallel professionals with the knowledge and experience needed to process your case in the most effective and efficient way possible. 

Our firm has assisted a broad variety of high equity clients engage in high net work divorces and divide a diverse set of assets and property, including: 

  • Commingled separate property – such as when an individual inheritance is invested into a shared asset like improving or expanding upon an existing property, or otherwise adding value to the marital property of the couple 
  • Business characterization and valuation – if you and your ex-spouse have interests in businesses, it is especially important to work with a Hanover high-net-worth divorce attorney who has the knowledge and experience to effectively measure the value of your business’ interests, to determine a present valuation to determine what your best options are, whether a buyout from one spouse, or the sale and splitting of the asset
  • Inheritance and future inheritance – in the context of marriages in Massachusetts, generally individual inheritances that are inherited even within the context of a marriage is considered to be the separate property of spouses, however, when inherited property is put into shared property, or if spouses share in the care of an individual from whom an inheritance is expected, then there may be a rightful share in the resources to be inherited given a shared investment or expenditure 
  • Rental income in retail and residential properties – while in Massachusetts persons who pass the bar are in fact real-estate brokers by default, that does not mean that all attorneys in the state have the knowledge and experience necessary to determine a fair present value buyout for future rental values, O’Connor Family Law has a network of real-estate professionals on call who we can gather help from on the appraisal of your property, and they can even assist in the sale of properties as necessary 
  • Rare and unique assets including art, antiques, tools, vehicles, and other forms of valuable property, while we do not expect our attorney to know this kind of information, once again our firm’s 35 years of combined experience in high asset divorce law provides us with a network of appraisal and valuation specialists to determine the present cash value of the unique assets you and your ex-spouse might hold

Ensuring that the assets involved in your marriage are completely cataloged and accurately measured in terms of value is essential to the equitable split of the assets of the members or the former marriage. To ensure that the members of the marriage experience the split in property that they prefer, rather than what the court might decide, it can be helpful to consider a postnuptial agreement. 

Postnuptial Agreements Can Provide Greater Control Over Asset Splits Before Divorce Proceedings 

A postnuptial agreement is a written legal and binding grouping of documents between two individuals who are presently married. As opposed to a prenuptial agreement which sets the terms of separation prior to entering into a legally binding marriage, a postnuptial agreement is entered into during the marriage, and is essentially a contract that sets the terms the couples will follow in the event that they separate. So it is essentially a postnuptial agreement executed within the context of the marriage. 

A postnuptial agreement, also known as a marital agreement in the Massachusetts Courts, will be carefully scrutinized and analyzed by the courts prior to being sanctioned and implemented. In light of this, it is absolutely essential that you work with an experienced attorney who is capable of ensuring that the necessary requirements are met within both the context of the drafting and execution of the proposed agreement. 

If you are in a high net worth marriage and you are considering a postnuptial agreement as a way of pocketing off certain assets from your divorce proceedings, then our experienced Hanover divorce lawyers are standing by and available to help. The complexity of the process can be daunting to persons going through a stressful divorce, but our clarity and assistance will help to remove much of the stress associated with your divorce and its impact on your daily life. 

You’ll generally be dealing with an opposing attorney for your spouse, who also will be doing their best to keep the best interests of their client in mind. A collaborative approach between competent and professional attorneys is highly beneficial in terms of the outcome of your postnuptial agreement and subsequent divorce. 

High Net Worth Divorces Face Greater Complexities 

Some of the assets that are common within a high net-worth divorce can include real estate holdings, brokerage accounts, business ownership or corporate partnerships, substantial retirement or investment accounts, expensive collections, and complex compensation packages. These situations can present a number of challenges based on the complex manner that the plans or contracts dictating these assets are generally drafted.

It is not uncommon to find that a couple who had already established significant assets entering the marriage took the precaution of having a prenuptial agreement. If so, then the prenuptial agreement has to stand a number of tests to be upheld at the time of the divorce. If the couple’s situation has substantially changed since the time they entered the prenuptial agreement, it’s possible that it will not be upheld. If the prenuptial agreement was not written properly, there’s also a chance it will not be upheld. If you’re entering into a marriage, make sure you utilize an experienced divorce attorney to draft your prenuptial agreement so that any areas where holes can sometimes be poked within a subsequent divorce are drafted comprehensively.

Obtaining an appraisal on a home is a fairly easy process; however, when dealing with high-net-worth divorces, there is often a need to obtain valuations for businesses, yachts, art collections, antique cars, sports memorabilia, or other types of assets if there is not an agreement on the value of each. These types of evaluations require experts to be retained to provide a valuation. If the value determined is contested, the other spouse can obtain their own expert to provide a value. Sometimes the difference in values can be millions of dollars. Having an attorney on your side who knows what type of expert to retain ensures that, if your case goes to trial, your expert will be the one that the Judge relies on to evaluate that specific asset.

Our Hanover attorneys can help you take the necessary steps to uncover all assets subject to division in a high net-worth divorce and determine the appropriate value. The attorneys at O’Connor family law have experience in these situations because we are familiar with the specific nuances involved in high net-worth divorce cases and we understand how to develop a strategy that protects you from the potential pitfalls.

We Employ a Forensic Approach in Our Efforts to Equitably Divide Wealth

The only way to equitably split the assets and property of a high equity couple is to accurately and completely identify all the assets that are involved in the marriage. When a member of the couple is not being entirely forthcoming in terms of the property or assets they possess, or if they are actively hiding them, the process can become considerably more complicated. 

To support the accurate identification of hidden assets, our firm employs a forensic approach to identify and analyze the hidden and exotic assets that might be in place within the marriage. A multi-disciplinary approach is taken throughout our forensic methodology, incorporating the following: 

  • Current technological tools and technology-based searching and investigatory techniques
  • Expertise within the fields of both taxation and wealth management, in addition to an extended network of these professionals for us to refer you to for assistance that goes beyond the capacity of our experienced Hanover high-net-worth divorce attorney team
  • Through the application of sound and effective litigation practices and techniques to ensure that we put the most winning case forward in support of an equitable outcome in your divorce 
  • Our team of forensic accountants and network of related professionals are capable of taking advantage of electronic accounting techniques to track assets and ensure that all community property is effectively incorporated into the case 

Common High-Value Assets Involved in These Hanover Divorces

As discussed previously, various types of assets are often at issue in a high-net-worth divorce. Some of these may include a privately held corporation or limited liability company, private jet memberships, boats, stocks, bonds, and offshore assets. Other than the assets, the division of marital liabilities can be just as complex when a high net-worth divorce is at issue.

The division of other high-net-worth assets that may require assistance from a divorce attorney in Hanover includes trademarks, luxury automobiles, passive income streams, rental properties, phantom income, memberships into exclusive clubs, and a number of other assets.

Child Support and Alimony in High Net Worth Divorces

Massachusetts provides calculations for both child support and alimony. However, when the cumulative income between the Parties is above $250,000.00 per year, the calculations become significantly more “gray” rather than “black and white.” In these types of situations, it is not uncommon to see both child support and alimony being paid or to see what is called “unallocated support” – which means it is support being paid without a label.

It is important to have an attorney on your side who can get creative with their proposals as well as look at a number of different calculations and how the final numbers will play out in reality. Sometimes a certain amount can help both parties while another amount may help one party but significantly harm the other. This can be seen often in relation to how support can affect taxes.

With the recent changes in the tax regulations, alimony is no longer taxable to the receiver or tax-deductible by the payor. This has created a situation where, what used to be an easy calculation of between 30 – 35% of the discrepancy between the two spouse’s income, has become significantly more convoluted as to how the amount affects tax liabilities, in reality, have emerged as an issue that needs to be presented to the Judge if the case goes to trial, which also involves hiring an expert.

There may be additional child-related expenses that families with a high net worth may be responsible for that others would not. Expenses such as private or boarding schools, competitive sports training, high-end clubs or memberships, more expensive activities, college savings, horse or car ownership, and even homes left to the children within an irrevocable trust all may be expenses that need to be addressed.

The calculations that are involved in the measurement of income in order to identify the appropriate level of support for the court to order can be especially complex with high asset couples. Persons with high income may not make their income through a single source or job in the form of a salary, but instead may generate income through a combination of a traditional salary, a W-2 income, through taxable business income such as K-1 income, in addition to difficult to measure elements such as the growth of a business’ value to a prospective outside buyer. 

Valuable real-estate is especially complex and can add kinks to the otherewise smooth processing of a divorce. Within the context of real-estate investments, developers often invest significant up-front sums and capital costs to create value. This may be done in the form of acquiring then redeveloping real-estate. The capital gains from these investments may not be realized for many years, and the capital that members of the couple invested may not have been even. Determining the present value of investments that are many years away from maturing is complicated, and requires that you work with a lawyer knowledgeable of high net worth divorces.

Unraveling Complexities, Writing Your New Story: Contact a Hanover High-Net-Worth Divorce Attorney

If you are facing a divorce and you are considered a high-net-worth family, you should retain competent legal counsel to handle your case from start to finish. Our Hanover high net-worth divorce lawyers can help you fight to protect both you and the investments you have worked so hard for while ensuring that the division would be considered fair in the eyes of the Court to allow the divorce to be approved.

The property distribution issues within your divorce can be intimidating and frustrating, especially when you have valuable assets to protect. You do not want to have the assets that you have worked so hard to obtain be obliviated within your divorce. Call O’Connor Family Law to speak with a dedicated and knowledgeable Hanover high-net-worth divorce attorney today to protect your and your children’s financial future.