While all divorces are emotionally draining, Arizona households with high net worth have unique issues that must be addressed carefully. If your attorney does not give these issues proper consideration, your divorce may squander the financial resources of one or both parties.
If you or your spouse is a high-income earner or owns valuable assets, ensure that your lawyer carefully focuses on these aspects of your divorce.
1. Keeping Your Costs Down
Some attorneys feel they have to use their clients’ wealth in high-asset divorces just because it is there. You worked hard to gain financial health. Squandering away years of hard work to be contentious in areas that need not be disputed is a giant disservice to you. Needless appraisals, court appearances, attorney fees and expert fees can quickly add up to a huge chunk of your wealth.
2. Licenses And Degrees
Education, licensing and specialization often enhance one’s earning capacity. Whether you, your spouse or both of you have a special set of credentials, these licenses and degrees are something your attorney needs to factor into your divorce. A skilled lawyer will also try to find differentiators that work in your favor. A business degree is not just a business degree if it came from Harvard – it likely holds special value in the job market.
3. Professional Practices
If you or your spouse owns a practice – medical, dentistry, law, etc. – it may prove difficult to value. Further, if your spouse owns the practice and your relationship has been deteriorating, it’s possible he or she may be trying to hide the true value, or net worth, of the business.
4. Family Businesses
When a family invests and runs a business together, it often becomes an extremely contentious issue in divorce. There are many different options for resolving this matter, including a buy-out, dissolution, profit-sharing agreement and others.
When one or both spouses own a closely held business or has a business interest with many contingencies, it probably requires expert valuation in divorce. This issue often arises when one spouse is a CEO, CFO or business executive. It can also arise when someone is a highly successful salesperson, earning high commissions or incentivized pay.
5. Retirement Assets
High-asset households often have an array of retirement assets – not just a 401(k) or a pension. Ensure that your lawyer has experience with high-asset divorces, because a wide portfolio of retirement-minded assets can overwhelm an attorney who routinely handles divorces that involve only a handful of assets.
If mishandled in divorce, a trust can have a disastrous impact on a person’s financial well-being. High-income households often use trusts to channel their wealth for a specific purpose, but trusts often fail to account for a game-changer like divorce. Does one of the spouses have a domestic asset protection trust (DAPT)? A skilled attorney will know what questions to ask and will leave no stone unturned.
7. Real Estate/Real Property
Whether the divorce involves a high-value homestead or a series of valuable properties, it is important to carefully consider everything for the valuation process. Does the estate involve undeveloped property that may soon double or triple in worth because of a proposed development on adjacent land? These are the type of questions a high-asset divorce lawyer must find definitive answers to.
If you are contemplating divorce, strongly consider partnering with the award-winning family law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC. We are experienced in helping successful people through their divorce and its unique issues, while also securing favorable outcomes in invaluable aspects like child custody.
DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC’s accolades include:
- Family Law Litigator of the Year
- Small Firm of the Year
- Superb, 10.0 Avvo rating
- Arizona Super Lawyer (5 percent of Arizona attorneys receive this honor)
- Certified Family Law Specialist
Call 800-409-0262 to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys