Santa Barbara High Asset Divorce Lawyer

If you have a high net worth, own a business, or expect large inheritances, your divorce might require additional legal support beyond the standard divorce.  In a typical divorce, the parties’ main concerns are getting what is fair and ending the divorce as quickly and painlessly as possible.  While these may be your concerns, you have the added concern of protecting your finances.  With strict rules demanding a 50/50 split, Californians face additional legal challenges to protect their finances.  If you are divorcing someone with a high net worth, your concern may be continuing your standard of living after the marriage and getting what you deserve from the divorce.

For a free consultation on your high net worth divorce in Santa Barbara or the surrounding communities, talk to our attorneys today.  The Santa Barbara high asset divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC fight for our clients’ rights to keep their individual property and ensure that our clients get what they are entitled to from a divorce.  If you live in Buellton, Carpinteria, Goleta, Guadalupe, Isla Vista, Lompoc, Mission Hills, Orcutt, Santa Maria, Sisquoc, Solvang, or anywhere in the area, consider taking your divorce case to Bamieh & De Smeth.

Prenuptial Agreements in High Net Worth Divorces

If you are not married yet, consider the benefits of a prenuptial agreement.  These agreements work to define the split of assets, even before the marriage begins.  These are excellent tools for either party.  Since they often protect the assets of the wealthier spouse, that spouse may desire a prenuptial agreement.  The other spouse often gains protections in these agreements as well, such as exceptions for divorces based on adultery or other grounds.  If you are already considering divorce and there is a prenuptial agreement in place, you may already reap these benefits.

In the event that your spouse is challenging your prenuptial agreement, you may have legal options our attorneys can help you with.  Defending a prenuptial agreement and enforcing its predetermined rules is vital in protecting your assets.  Our attorneys fight to hold the court and your spouse to the terms of the agreement.  As many prenuptial agreements can be challenged in court, our attorneys fight to ensure these safeguards remain in effect.

If a prenuptial agreement may prevent you from getting your fair share of your spouse’s assets, our attorneys can help challenge the prenuptial agreement.  There are many routes to getting around a prenuptial agreement, including:

  • Challenging the agreement because it was formed under duress,
  • Challenging the agreement because it was improperly formed,
  • Enforcing clauses that allow higher settlements, and
  • Reforming the agreement.

Many prenuptial agreements allow a spouse to take a higher split of the assets if the marriage ends because of adultery, fraud, criminal activity, or other triggers.  If your spouse cheated on you, violating the prenuptial agreement, you may be entitled to a substantial share of the assets.

Maintaining your Standard of Living

One of the most important aspects of a high asset divorce is each party’s desire to maintain their standard of living.  If you entered the marriage with a high net worth, you have been accustomed to a high standard of living for longer than the marriage.  If your standard of living was increased by the marriage, you are not suddenly expected to lose that standard of living because of the divorce.
California’s laws protect spouses who may be afraid of losing their standard of living.  Given the choice between staying in an abusive or loveless relationship or losing their wealth, many people may continue to suffer the evils of a bad marriage.  California’s laws aim to prevent this by awarding alimony to ex-spouses who need it.

Alimony or “spousal support” works to provide a spouse with continued financial support after the marriage.  Factors like marital misconduct (cheating, lack of affection, and other romantic issues) are not considered.  However, factors like abuse are important.  Any form of abuse – physical, emotional, or financial – may draw higher alimony payments.

high asset attorney

Protecting Your Assets

If you are looking to protect your assets in a divorce, there are a few things that offer strong protections for your wealth:

  • Prenuptial Agreements – It bears repeating that a prenuptial agreement is often the best way to protect your assets in a divorce.
  • Postnuptial Agreements – Many times, the division of property can be agreed-upon outside of court so that the parties determine the division, rather than the court.
  • Individual Property – California is a “community property” state, which splits all assets jointly owned assets during divorce. Property and assets you owned before the marriage are not community property, and you can fight to retain them after a divorce.
  • Financial Planning – California law only divides property that you own. If your assets are controlled by a trust or a business entity, and you earn income from those entities, you may not control the property.  This may mean that it is unavailable for your spouse to claim a share of during a divorce.

With many of these options, there are fine legal lines.  Talk to an attorney about your options.  As many attempts to hide assets from your spouse could be illegal, it is vital that you consult counsel before making any of these decisions.

Santa Barbara Divorce Attorneys

The lawyers at The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC offer a free, confidential consultation on your high asset divorce.  Whether you are seeking to protect your business interests, your assets, your inheritances, or your income, our attorneys can help.  If you are seeking to maintain your standard of living after divorce, our attorneys can fight prenuptial agreements and work toward a divorce that will satisfy your needs.  For a free consultation on your divorce, call (805) 643-5555 today.

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