Divorce is often stressful, but when the stakes are higher, the complications can seem to multiply.
When one or both parties earn a high income or have a high net worth, financial considerations, including the division of assets and how much alimony or child support is to be paid (if any) can be of paramount importance. If either party owns a business or has other holdings, there are additional financial implications.
A divorce lawyer who is familiar with high income divorce, high net worth divorce, equitable distribution, alimony and child support laws can help you protect your wealth and property in a divorce.
The experienced attorneys at Yaffa & Associates have advised numerous clients, both men and women, who earn a high income or have a high net worth in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, Florida, including the surrounding areas of Wellington, Palm Springs, West Palm Beach, and Delray Beach. Our goal is to preserve our clients' assets while reaching a favorable resolution.
If you earn a high income or have a high net worth and are contemplating a divorce, we can help. We are adept at explaining what is entailed if one or both spouses earn a high income or have a high net worth. We also have a team of investigators and forensic accountants ready to assist if needed.
Our managing partner, Doreen M. Yaffa, has been a board certified specialist in marital and family law since 2001. Board certification is the highest level of recognition awarded by the Florida Bar and only about 6 percent of all Florida attorneys are board certified.
Contact Yaffa & Associates now at (561) 276-3880 for a no obligation consultation. We will completely evaluate your situation and advise you on the next steps to take to achieve the best final result while preserving the wealth you have earned.
Florida is an "equitable distribution" state (as opposed to a "community property" state), so before making a determination of how to distribute the marital assets in a divorce case, the court must first distinguish between marital assets and non-marital assets and then exclude the non-marital assets before making its final ruling (Florida Statutes 61.075(1)).
Sorting out marital assets and debts from non-marital assets and debts depends on the full, honest disclosure of both parties during a divorce, but even when both parties cooperate, divorces involving a high income or high net worth often require professional help to untangle everything and produce a settlement that is acceptable to both parties and the court.
When one or both parties resist full disclosure or dispute the value of assets or debts, an equitable distribution of assets and the fair award of alimony or child support become even more difficult to achieve.
The differences between marital and non-marital assets are defined in Florida Statutes 61.075(6)(a-b).
Examples of non-marital assets and liabilities include those acquired or incurred before a marriage, gifts from anyone other than the spouse, assets excluded via a prenuptial agreement, and others.
Examples of marital assets and liabilities include those acquired or incurred during a marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by them, gifts exchanged between the spouses, as well as annuities, retirement, pension, profit sharing and insurance plans, and others.
But high net worth individuals may have other substantial holdings, including:
It may be difficult to assign a value to certain assets, and the court has discretion in valuing marital assets, but an attorney experienced in high net worth divorce cases can partner with a business valuation expert to help determine the fair value.
Under Florida law, equitable distribution of assets must be completed before the court can consider the question of alimony (although it may grant temporary alimony before making a final judgment).
Alimony, also known as spousal support, can be granted by the court when one spouse requests financial support to be awarded to him or her from the other spouse in a divorce.
When a wide gap in income exists in a marriage, the court may award alimony to resolve the inequity. Alimony is designed to provide additional support for the spouse with a lower income.
The court may grant alimony to either party, which may be “bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational or permanent in nature, or any combination of these forms of alimony” depending on a number of factors. (Florida Statutes 61.08(1)).
An alimony award is additional to any child support that may also be awarded in a divorce; however, the court will also consider the child support amount when determining an alimony award.
In divorce cases where one spouse earns a high income or has a high net worth, the amount of alimony granted by the court could be significant.
After non-marital assets are excluded from marital assets and an equitable distribution of assets and debts is complete, and once an alimony amount is decided, a couple with minor children must still confront the issue of child support.
Florida law addresses child support in detail and provides a chart listing the exact amounts of child support to be paid depending on income and number of children (F.S. 61.30). But the court has some latitude, so it is wise to consult with a family law attorney to see how child support affects your divorce case.
Sometimes a spouse does not disclose all of his or her assets and attempts to hide them from the court in an illegal effort to withhold their existence and not share them with the divorcing spouse.
If you suspect your divorcing spouse of hiding assets, you may need an experienced divorce attorney who can employ investigators and forensic accountants, who can uncover, assess and value any hidden assets, identify tax considerations, and propose a division of the assets that makes the most sense for each spouse.
Palm Beach County Unified Family Court — The Unified Family Court of Palm Beach County handles all case types related to family issues, including divorce, alimony, child support, and others. The UFC web site contains a wealth of information about family law in Palm Beach County and provides links to other legal information.
If you or your spouse are contemplating divorce and one or both of you earn a high income or has a high net worth, then you should contact an experienced family law attorney at Yaffa & Associates to schedule a consultation.
Find out what you need to do right now to protect your property and preserve your wealth while resolving your case on the most favorable terms. We are also aware that couples with higher income and assets often also want to protect their privacy during the proceedings and find a speedy and dignified resolution.
We represent clients throughout Palm Beach County, including Boca Raton, Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington, and Jupiter, Florida.
During the consultation, one of our attorneys can discuss the specifics of your case and you can learn more about the factors the court will consider in your case in determining the best way to protect your property and preserve your wealth.
Call (561) 276-3880 today to discuss the unique facts of your case with an experienced divorce attorney in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Florida and surrounding areas.