High Asset Divorce
Serving the greater Columbus, Franklin county and Central Ohio areas.Schedule a consultation
Delaware, Ohio High Asset Divorce Attorneys
Family Law specialists with OVER 63 YEARS of experience.
Divorce is a stressful time for anyone. But in a high-asset divorce, there’s simply more at stake. The financials are more complex. Property has to be appraised; businesses have to be valuated; equity in real estate might partly belong to one spouse and partly be considered marital property. It’s a complicated process that will likely take at least a year to sort out.
The Lawrence Law Office has the experience you need to manage high-asset divorces. Offering a unique blend of business law experience and family law experience, we offer our clients unparalleled representation during their divorce. For more information, please feel free to give us a call or contact us online to set up an appointment.
High-Asset Divorces Present Unique Challenges
Ohio is an equitable distribution state. That means that assets are divided equitably but not necessarily evenly. In cases where one spouse’s earning power is significantly greater than the other spouse’s, the court may favor the spouse with less earning power when distributing assets. In addition, if one spouse behaved badly during the marriage, this may also impact the distribution of property during the divorce.
The actual division of assets can also present problems. Some assets, such as real estate, are hard to divide without diluting the value. The same is true of business assets. If the couple has considerable amounts of cash, then this can be used to offset other assets when dividing property. A business owner will not need to sell the business even if his wife is entitled to half of it. Instead, she can get an equivalent amount in cash or other assets.
If there is little cash, then the division of assets can be complicated. Some assets might need to be sold to facilitate distribution, and negotiating which ones to sell can be an essential part of the divorce.
But most high-asset couples have a vested interest in keeping their financials private. For this reason, most high-asset divorces go into mediation so as not to involve the courts and not make their assets and financials a matter of public record. Indeed, this too can become a bargaining chip in the process of negotiating a settlement.
Tax Consequences of a High-Asset Divorce
For obvious reasons, the major challenge of a high-asset divorce revolves around the division and allocation of assets. These types of things still present problems for those without vast assets that need to be considered. The first part of the process is determining which assets belong to you and your spouse individually and which assets are property of the marriage. In Ohio, any property that was acquired during the marriage is marital property and thus subject to equitable distribution. Only property acquired before the marriage, money acquired through a personal injury lawsuit, or property acquired via inheritance can be protected.
For instance, let’s say that you own a piece of real estate outright. But, at the time of your marriage, you only had 25% equity on the property. The 25% that you had purchased before the marriage still belongs to you while 75% of the equity is property of the marriage. In addition, the property may have increased value during the marriage and this also factors into the equation.
If you think that’s confusing, imagine how this same process would work when appraising a business. Value and growth that accrued during the marriage are considered property of the marriage. It can get confusing.
High-asset couples end up having to hire independent third parties who are willing to appraise the business or a piece of real estate. There are a number of ways to go about this process, and you need an attorney who can make valuation work to your advantage. Sometimes, each spouse hires their own expert, which can lead to dueling valuations of the same asset.
Offshore Accounts and Out-of-State Trusts
While you were married, you were likely filing together as a married couple. In some cases, high-asset couples may file separately if each owns their own business. Once the divorce has been finalized, you will no longer be able to file as married either jointly or separately. This can change your financial situation and it will certainly change your tax situation.
The attorneys at Lawrence Law Office can explain the tax consequences of your divorce to head off any issues that may arise.
Common Challenges in High-Asset Divorces
In some situations, there may be one spouse who seeks to hide assets from the other spouse by setting up out-of-state trusts or hiding funds in offshore accounts. In this case, you need a legal team that you can trust to conduct a full investigation in order to find the hidden funds.
One of the biggest mistakes that a divorcing spouse can make is to rush through the process of financial disclosure. Obviously, divorce is a difficult time and most people just want it behind them, but you don’t want to jeopardize your financial future either.
On the other side of the equation, if you are the primary breadwinner in your household and you attempt to hide assets during your divorce to prevent your former spouse from getting a larger payout, it can backfire. If your deception is exposed, it will damage your credibility with the court.
Spousal Support Claims
With some high net worth couples, both spouses earn equivalent high salaries. However, we have also seen a fair number of marriages where one spouse earns the lion’s share of income. When it comes time to divorce, the lower earning spouse might request alimony, called spousal support in Ohio.
There is no automatic right to spousal support like there is a right to child support. However, judges do have discretion to award it. Many judges might be tempted to give a huge spousal support award to the lower earning spouse out of pity or fear that he or she cannot maintain an equivalent standard of living.
If you are the higher-earning spouse, you will want to reduce any spousal support obligation. Changes to the tax code mean that your payments are no longer tax deductible. So, in addition to paying spousal support, you need to pay income taxes on the amount. This is a huge financial blow.
If you are the lower earning spouse, you will want to maximize the amount of spousal support. Judges can award support for a limited duration, e.g., only long enough to gain work experience or earn a college degree. Increasing the duration of spousal support is an obvious goal of our lower-earning clients.
Why You Need Lawrence Law
Clearly, a high asset divorce will present more challenges and problems than other types of divorce cases that do not involve complicated tax issues, business issues, and more. As such, you need a family lawyer that knows how to handle these complex issues. At Lawrence Law, our knowledgeable attorney is not only well-versed in family law, but also business law and estate planning law, two issues that are often present in high asset divorces. With this knowledge, you can receive all the advice you need regarding every aspect of your divorce case. Without the need to visit different attorneys for different issues, we can sort through the different issues your case presents more quickly and easily.
Not only will you reap the benefits of our vast legal services, but we also have connections with the professionals your high asset divorce will require, too. CPAs are often necessary to value businesses and retirement savings, a tax consultant is often required to minimize the tax impacts of a high asset divorce, and financial planners are also called upon to advise on the earning potential and work opportunities for a lower-earning spouse. These are just a few of the non-legal services you may need as part of your divorce, and we can help with them all.
Attorney Linda Lawrence has an extensive network of professionals that she relies on regularly to help with certain complex matters of divorce. With these resources available right at our fingertips, it saves you time and money, as you do not have to set up meetings and wait for people to call you back, which only drags out the divorce process. When you work with our legal firm at Lawrence Law, our entire team will work hard to take care of the complications your case presents, so you can move forward in your new life as quickly as possible.
Your estate is everything that you own. During a high asset divorce in Ohio, you need to untangle yourself financially from your spouse, which means that you need to decide how to divide your assets.Read More…
All marital property is divided equitably in divorce, including high-value assets. High value assets are not treated any different than other assets. During a divorce, a couple can decide how they want to divide their marital property.Read More…
It depends on what you mean by “protected.” You certainly can’t insulate investments from equitable distribution during divorce. Some of our clients wrongly think that property is marital only if both spouse’s names appear on the investment account.Read More…
Stocks and bonds are analyzed just like any other piece of property. First, you need to determine whether it is marital property or separate property.Read More…
All assets that the couple owns, either individually or jointly. Remember, what is key is not whose name appears on the deed or title.
You should treat offshore accounts just as you would as if those assets were onshore. Some of our clients are tempted not to disclose assets, especially off-shore assets, because they think that their spouse will not discover them.Read More…
Real estate will be subject to equitable distribution just like all other marital assets. They will be lumped together with other marital assets and then divided by the judge if the couple cannot reach an agreement on their own.Read More…
The key is to look at when you obtained the assets. If you obtained an asset before getting married, then it is usually non-community property, called “separate property” in Ohio.Read More…
In a high net worth divorce, tax issues loom large. Divorces, by themselves, are not usually taxable events, so you shouldn’t expect the IRS to send you a bill just because you were divorced.Read More…
For many people, retirements accounts represent a significant portion of their investments. However, retirement funds are divided in an Ohio divorce just as other assets are divided.
Other Practice Areas
- Family Law
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Stepparent Adoption
- Grandparent Visitation Rights
- Spousal Support
- Equitable Distribution
- Military Divorce
- Social Media in Divorce
- Contempt & Enforcement
- Post Divorce
- Business Owners Divorce
- Tax issues
- Child Custody
- Grandparent Rights
- Same-Sex Couples Child Custody
- High Asset Divorce
- Retirement Assets
- Estate Planning
The place to go.
Lawrence Law Office is the place to go if you need expert and experienced legal counsel. Very knowledgeable about the court system. Been around along time. I highly recommend them!Stephen
Talk to an High-Asset Divorce Attorney in Columbus
The team at the Lawrence Law Office has experience in both family law and business law making us uniquely qualified to handle high-asset divorces. Give us a call or talk to us online to set up an appointment with a high net worth divorce lawyer in Ohio and we can begin discussing your options today.