Divorce with High Net Worth Assets
Marriage termination is can be a complicated, delicate, and painful issue. When a couple with a high net worth seeks a divorce, it becomes even more complex as assets are considered. Dividing these assets according to Pennsylvania’s equitable distribution of property standard can be extremely intensive. Oftentimes, there is also child support, spousal payments, and alimony to consider.
When you are seeking a divorce involving significant assets, it’s highly advisable to work with a level-headed West Chester divorce attorney who has a strong track record of success in this area. This helps ensure that your short-term and long-term best interests are protected during this process.
High Net Worth Divorce in Pennsylvania
Call (610) 692-8700 or send an online message for a free consultation so we can act as soon as possible. We are based in West Chester PA and serve clients throughout Chester County, Lancaster County and suburban Philadelphia including West Chester, Kennett Square, Oxford, Avondale, Landenberg, West Grove, Paoli, Malvern, Downingtown, Coatesville, Exton, Parkesburg, Berwyn and Devon. We have convenient meeting locations in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, King of Prussia, and Radnor. Our family lawyers serve those with immediate legal needs in Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County and Lancaster County.
Items to Consider in Pennsylvania High Net Worth Divorce
- What Constitutes a High Net Worth Divorce?
- Equitable Division of High Value Assets
- Spousal Support and High Income in Pennsylvania
Putting a dollar amount on what determines a high net worth divorce is difficult. Rather, the number and value of assets involved in a divorce determine how it can best be categorized. This is particularly true when significant property is classified as marital property obtained by the couple during their marriage, and not by the individual beforehand.
Assets and property involved usually include a diverse portfolio of investments such as the following:
- Real estate
- Family businesses
- Closely-held businesses
- Stock options
- Retirement plans
- Pension plans
- Item investments like art, classic cars, or antiques
What makes a high net worth marriage termination more complex is Pennsylvania’s rule of equitable division of assets. This does not mean that the assets and property is divided 50/50. Equitable distribution means that how the marital property is divided is fair according to each spouse’s unique situation. If one spouse has sole or primary custody of any children from the marriage, he or she may be entitled to more assets than the spouse with no or partial custody.
It is important to remember that equitable distribution is for the marital assets only – that is, property or assets obtained during the marriage or gifts from one spouse to another. Personal property refers to that which was obtained before the marriage. Gifts from a third party that were not used to jointly purchase property or assets are not considered for equitable distribution. This is part of what makes a high net worth divorce complex. Determining and accounting for what is personal property and what is marital property is an intensive, complex process, especially if the couple has been married for an extended period of time.
In order to complete equitable distribution of marital assets in Chester County, specialists such as forensic accountants, private investigators, business valuators, tax professionals, and various appraisers may be called in to catalogue and value each individual property piece or asset. This can be a tricky process, as finding the stable value of something like a stock portfolio in a constantly-moving economy is no simple feat. An experienced high asset divorce lawyer in West Chester can work with you and the appropriate experts to fight for favorable distribution of your assets and properties.
Another tricky aspect of high net worth divorces is spousal support during the separation, alimony pendente lite during the divorce process, and alimony after the divorce. Under Pennsylvania law, spouses have an obligation to support each other. When marriage termination is agreed upon but not yet decreed, neither spouse can simply abandon the financial obligations he or she maintained as a part of the marriage.
Additionally, each spouse may have the reasonable expectation to maintain the same quality of life in the separation and divorce process as in the marriage. Generally, spousal support and alimony pendente lite in Pennsylvania are governed by a set percentage. However, how much support you must pay or are qualified for can vary case-by-case in high-net worth divorces. A well qualified divorce attorney can help you sort through your case and determine a favorable spousal support situation for you.
High Net Worth Divorces in West Chester, PA
If you are terminating your marriage in West Chester, Kennett Square, Paoli, Landenberg, Chester Springs, Exton or Radnor and are concerned with the complexities that your assets may bring, contact the highly experienced divorce attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices. Call (610) 692-8700 today for your free initial consultation.