Family Law Specialists

Steve Fernandez and Mark Karney are both Certified Family Law Specialists* with over 50 years of combined experience.

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Los Angeles High-Net Worth Divorce Attorney

Los Angeles High-Net Worth AttorneysDo you and your spouse have significant financial interests and assets? Do you own multiple pieces of real estate, have a diverse portfolio, and share interests in business ventures? If so, getting divorced can be complicated. You’ll need the help of an experienced Los Angeles high net worth divorce attorney. At Fernandez & Karney, our attorneys will help you identify what you want to get out of your divorce and fight to protect your financial interests.

The stakes are much greater in a high net worth divorce. It’s also much easier to make mistakes that can affect you for the rest of your life. It’s important for you to have the help of an attorney who understands how to approach and handle the most complicated financial matters. Our Certified Family Law Specialists have been helping clients navigate complex property division disputes for more than 50 years. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and securing the outcome you want. Call us today to schedule your free consultation to learn more.

Identifying and Classifying Property in a High Net Worth Divorce

In a high net worth divorce, it is crucial to make sure that all property interests are disclosed by each spouse. When you file for divorce, you will be required to submit a list of all property and debts. This must include separate property that you own individually, as well as any property that you own jointly with your spouse.

In California, separate property generally refers to assets and debts that you owned individually prior to marriage (and did not convert to community property). Community property, on the other hand, refers to assets and debts obtained by either spouse after marriage. This can include income, jointly owned business ventures or interests, retirement benefits, investment accounts, and more. Generally speaking, anything that either spouse acquires during a marriage is considered community property.

It’s important to understand the distinction between separate property and community property. There will be times when the proper classification of certain assets or debts is in question. When high-value assets are in play, spouses may fiercely disagree over the appropriate classification. Spouses share an equal interest in any asset or debt that is deemed to be community property. A spouse who does not want to share a particular asset may fight tooth and nail to have that asset classified as separate property. It’s important for you to have the help and guidance an attorney who understands the complexities of California property division requirements. Making sure that all of your assets are classified appropriately is the first step in achieving the results you want from your high net worth divorce.

Why High Net Worth Divorces Are Complicated

In truth, any divorce can be complicated. Before a divorce can be finalized, spouses have to find a way to agree about many things, including child custody, child support, and alimony. All spouses also have to figure out how to divide their marital assets. Dividing assets can be difficult even when spouses don’t have many assets to their name. When you and your spouse have significant interests and assets, determining how those assets should be divided can become much more stressful.

It’s not just that you have assets that are high in value, it’s also that you have assets that can be difficult to liquidate and/or value. Unless you have a prenup that dictates how your assets will be divided, each spouse is entitled to half of all marital property. Placing a value on those assets can be half the battle.

Property interests that can make a high net worth divorce more complicated include:

  • Commercial and/or residential real estate holdings
  • Family business interests
  • Ownership interests in non-family businesses
  • Partnership interests
  • Investments
  • Offshore accounts
  • Retirement benefits (e.g., Pensions, IRAs, 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, stock options)
  • Inheritance
  • Trusts
  • Intellectual property (e.g., patents)
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Orders
  • Family homes, vehicles, and boats, and
  • Other high-value assets.

The best way to ensure that your assets are valued properly is by working with reputable financial experts and advisors. At Fernandez & Karney, we have established relationships and contacts with some of the best financial advisors and forensic accountants in the greater Los Angeles area. We work closely with these experts to analyze, audit, and assess your vast property interests.

Maintaining Your Standard of Living After a High Net Worth Divorce

If you and your spouse had considerable assets, you probably had a comfortable lifestyle. When you get divorced, you are entitled to maintain the standard of living to which you grew accustomed during your marriage. If you are the higher earning spouse, it won’t be difficult for you to maintain your lifestyle. However, if you earn significantly less than your spouse, you may find that it is challenging to maintain your standard of living. Spousal support can be awarded to help you adjust to life a newly single person.

Spousal support can be awarded whenever there are discrepancies between each spouse’s income and financial needs. Generally speaking, if one spouse earns less money than the other, they can request and secure spousal support. This is true even if the lower earning spouse still earns a significant amount of money or has substantial financial interests of his or her own. Those interests just may not be enough to allow that spouse to continue living the lavish life they enjoyed before divorce.

Spousal support is calculated using a variety of factors, including income, assets, ability to earn, health, and financial need. It can be awarded temporarily or more permanently. The longer the marriage, the longer a spouse can expect to receive alimony payments. Those payments, however, will no longer be available if the receiving spouse gets remarried or becomes capable of supporting themselves.

Get Help With Your High Net Worth Divorce

A high net worth divorce can be stressful. It’s important for you to have the help of an attorney who knows what is at stake and understands how these complicated family issues must be handled. At Fernandez & Karney, our Los Angeles high net worth divorce attorneys can help you protect your financial interests in a complex divorce. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with our skilled legal team. We will review your case, identify what you’d like to achieve, and design a strategy to make those desires a reality. Call us to get started on your high net worth divorce case today.