Los Angeles High-Net Worth Lawyer

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If you and your spouse have significant financial assets such as real property, a diverse portfolio, and shared interests in business ventures, you will need the assistance of an experienced Los Angeles high-net-worth divorce attorney to help settle or litigate your Los Angeles divorce. At Fernandez & Karney, our high-net-worth divorce lawyers can help identify your divorce goals and fight to protect your legal and financial interests.

The stakes are more significant in a high net worth divorce. This means that even the slightest mistake can permanently affect your future.  

At Fernandez & Karney, our Los Angeles divorce attorneys understand how to approach and deal with the most complicated financial matters.  

Our Certified Family Law Specialists:

  • Helping clients navigate complex property division
  • Have more than fifty years of experience in family law disputes
  • Are dedicated to securing the best possible outcome in your divorce

Call or contact Fernandez & Karney in Los Angeles to schedule a complimentary consultation and learn more about the high-net-worth divorce process.

How Our High-Net-Worth Divorce Attorneys Can Help

The Los Angeles high-net-worth divorce lawyers at Fernandez & Karney will handle all aspects of your divorce.  These include, but are not limited to:

We have experts to value financial assets like stock, retirement accounts, and other investments. Our financial experts can also offer advice regarding the effect of divorce decisions on income taxes.  

Fernandez & Karney’s high-net-worth divorce lawyers in Los Angeles can also:

  • Finalize any transfers of real property
  • Prepare the necessary orders to divide retirement accounts
  • Calculate and finalize any child support payments or agreements
  • Negotiate or litigate alimony or spousal support payments
  • Finalize your divorce through litigation or a form of alternative dispute resolution

Speak with a high-net-worth divorce attorney at Fernandez & Karney before taking any action in your divorce case. You must consult with an experienced attorney and develop a divorce strategy before making significant decisions about your future.

What is a High-Net-Worth Divorce?

A high-net-worth divorce is any divorce in which one spouse has more than one million dollars in assets. High-net-worth divorces raise the level of scrutiny employed by the court when reviewing spouses’ financial records.  

The court reviews the following types of assets in a high net worth divorce:

  • Retirement accounts like 401k’s and pensions
  • Shared business interests, including spouse-owned businesses, partnerships, and business investments
  • Real property holdings
  • Out of state and international assets 

Should either spouse submit incorrect financial information to the court, both spouses could be subject to an IRS investigation.  

California is a Community Property State

California is a community property state. Any property acquired by spouses during the marriage is considered marital or community property. All community property is subject to equal division by the court, except for property specifically excluded by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and separate property of the spouses.

As it is practically impossible to divide the marital property into equal halves, the court first totals the net worth of the community assets. It then subtracts this amount from any community debts. Any remaining asset value is divided in half between the spouses. Spouses may choose to leave assets whole and take marital assets of approximately equal value in a divorce.  

All community assets are included in the marital property division, including, but not limited to:

  • Real property
  • The marital home
  • Vehicles
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Household goods
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposit
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Pensions and retirement accounts
  • Savings accounts

What is Separate Property?

Separate property belongs to one spouse alone. It is not a part of community property and is not subject to division in a California divorce.  

Separate property may include: 

  • Property owned by a spouse before marriage
  • Any earnings, rents, profits, or interest resulting from a spouse’s separate property
  • Any property inherited or gifted to one spouse alone
  • Any asset acquired by a spouse during the marriage using their separate property
  • Anything a spouse acquires after the date of separation using separate property
  • Any portion of retirement, pension, or profit-sharing plan earned before a couple marries or after the date of separation in a divorce

To remain separate property, the property must be traceable back to its separate source.  Once property mixes or becomes commingled with marital property, there is an argument that property is marital.   

What is the Date of Separation?

The date of separation is the date one spouse formally makes known to the other that they intend to end the marriage. This is typically the date one spouse moves out of the marital home.  Community property stops accumulating after the date of separation, as do community debts and income.

Understanding the Distinction Between Separate Property and Community Property

It is imperative to understand the distinction between separate property and community property when high-value assets are in play. Spouses may fiercely disagree over an asset’s appropriate classification to not share that particular asset. 

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. Whenever a divorce is filed, there must be a listing of all property and debts. This includes separate property as well as marital or community property.

This list is the first step in ensuring all assets are classified appropriately in a high-net-worth divorce.

High-Net-Worth Divorces Are Complicated

Any divorce can be complicated. Spouses must agree on many things before a divorce is finalized, including child custody, child support, and alimony. Spouses also have to figure out how to divide any marital assets. 

Dividing assets can be stressful when complex and difficult to liquidate or assess. Property interests that can make a high-net-worth divorce more complicated are as follows:

  • Commercial 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
  • Other high-value assets

High-Net-Worth Divorces and Spousal Support

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 makes a significant amount of money or has substantial financial interests.  

During the pendency of a divorce, the court may order temporary spousal support to allow the parties to maintain their living situations. Permanent spousal support is based on the circumstances of each party and:

  • The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
  • The respective needs of each party
  • The ability of the supporting spouse to pay support

The decision to order spousal support, at what amount, and the duration of spousal support, is wholly up to the court.

Factors Considered in a Spousal Support Award

While the court ultimately decides whether a spouse receives support in a divorce, there are statutory factors used when determining as to the amount and duration of an award.  

These are as follows:

  • If the spouse requesting support significantly contributed to the education, training, license, or career position of the other
  • If the spouses will be able to maintain the same standard of living established during the marriage, based on their earning capacity
  • The separate property of each spouse
  • The obligations and assets of each spouse
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The supporting spouse’s ability to pay spousal support, based on income, assets, standard of living, and earning capacity
  • If the spouse requesting support can work without significantly interfering with the interests of minor children in their custody
  • The age of the spouses
  • The health of the spouses
  • Any consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence
  • Any tax consequences to the spouses if spousal support were awarded
  • Hardships suffered by the spouses
  • If the spouse seeking support could become self-supporting within a reasonable amount of time
  • Any other factors the court considers equitable

The Ten-Year Rule

Contrary to belief, there is no “ten-year rule” regarding spousal support in California. However, a spousal support award in California is usually half the length of any marriage lasting fewer than ten years.  

For marriages lasting more than ten years, there is no fixed term of spousal support. It is the paying spouse’s responsibility to prove spousal support is no longer necessary at some future date. 

Most spousal support in California is meant to allow the receiving spouse to gain the education or training needed to become self-supporting. Lifetime spousal support is only ordered when the receiving spouse cannot maintain employment.

Our Los Angeles Divorce Attorney also focuses on the following areas:

Contact an Experienced Los Angeles High-Net-Worth Divorce Attorney

The best way to ensure that your assets are appropriately valued is by working with reputable financial experts and advisors. At Fernandez & Karney, our Los Angeles high-net-worth divorce lawyers 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 property interests.

A high net worth divorce can be stressful. That is why you must have the help of an attorney who knows the stakes and understands how these issues must be handled. Contact Fernandez & Karney today to schedule your consultation with our skilled legal team. 

One of our professionals will review your circumstances and design a strategy to make your desires a reality. Call us to get started today.