Ventura High Asset Divorce Lawyer
Divorce cases involving parties with high net-worth, substantial investments, or business interests can be far more complex. Often, protecting your client’s finances becomes an important part of representing someone in a high asset divorce. The Ventura high asset divorce lawyers at the Law Offices and Bamieh and De Smeth represent individuals involved in high asset divorces and fight to get them the outcome they deserve.
If you are considering filing for divorce but you are concerned about your finances, contact our attorneys today. Our lawyers have decades of experience handling divorce cases and may be able to help with your case as well. To set up a free legal consultation, contact our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.
What is a High Net Worth Divorce?
Divorces involving substantial wealth are often treated very differently than standard divorce cases. While all of the standard aspects of a divorce – alimony, child support, child custody, and asset division – are all still present in high asset divorces, protecting one’s assets from division is often a high priority.
During a divorce in California, there is an expectation that all property acquired during the marriage will be split 50/50. This happens because California is a “community property state,” where all assets acquired during the marriage are jointly owned and split evenly upon divorce. This can be devastating to someone who has business interests, investments, or substantial independent wealth, and it can be a surprising windfall to the other spouse.
Protecting Assets During Divorce in California
Any assets either party owned before the marriage are individual assets, and they have every right to keep those assets after divorce. However, there are multiple legal strategies used to capture or protect these assets which make high net worth divorces challenging.
First, divorce attorneys look to protect or claim assets for their clients by challenging the status as individual or community property. While items either party brought to the marriage should be individual property, they become community property if they were intentionally commingled. Putting money into things like joint bank accounts or investment portfolios often turns them into community property, even if you previously could have claimed it as individual property. Similarly, even if you owned the property as individual property before the marriage, any increase in value the asset undergoes during the marriage is community property and should be divided.
However, there are tools to remove things from the community property pool, as well. Assets purchased as a successor or substitute for individual property are also individual property. For instance, if the wife owns an expensive, classic car before the marriage, that is her individual property. If, after the wedding, she trades it in to buy a modern luxury SUV, that SUV is a successor to her classic car and is still her individual property.
Prenuptial Agreements for High Asset Marriages
Much of the legal conflict in high asset divorces comes from these asset division arguments. In many cases, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can sort-out who gets which assets by defining which assets are individual property and which are community property.
Prenuptial agreements are used before the wedding to decide which property is individual and goes with the original owner upon divorce, and which property is community property that is divided 50/50 upon divorce. A spouse with substantial family wealth, business investments, or independent wealth can establish that many of their assets will be individual property not subject to asset division. If the other spouse is willing to agree to the terms, this can help prevent later fighting regarding asset division.
If a prenup seems too aggressive, postnuptial agreements can also be created. These agreements allow spouses to make decisions about asset division after the marriage begins. These agreements can be made early on in the marriage or close to divorce. Postnups give the parties more control over asset division than a court might typically give them.
Many people consider prenuptial agreements unfair to the less-wealthy spouse, but these fears are often misplaced. A prenup gives the other spouse the comfort of knowing what they will receive during a divorce, often down to specific amounts. These agreements can also include things like infidelity clauses which can help injured spouses receive more assets during asset division if their spouse was unfaithful, abusive, or violated other terms.
Prenuptial agreements are usually strong – as long as they are made openly and honestly. If a spouse is pressured into signing by coercion or violence, the agreement cannot stand. Additionally, if the wealthy spouse hides assets or fails to fully disclose all of their assets as part of creating the prenuptial agreement, their spouse may be able to challenge the prenup and seek their share of the hidden assets in court.
Our Ventura High Net Worth Divorce Attorneys Offer Free Consultations
If you are worried about your business, your investments, or your personal wealth during your divorce case, contact an attorney who is experienced with high net worth divorces. The Ventura high asset divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth have decades of experience handling divorce cases on behalf of high net worth individuals. To schedule a complimentary consultation on your case, contact our attorneys online or by calling (805) 643-5555 today.