Ending a marriage is one of the most difficult decisions a person will ever make. This is especially true for couples with considerable assets: the greater the number of assets involved, the more challenging the divorce can become. Who keeps the condo? Who keeps the vacation home? What about stocks, mutual funds, and cash in bank accounts? Is there a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement that now needs to be enforced?
New York is an equitable distribution state. This means that in the event of a divorce, assets will be divided fairly as determined by the court. It’s not simply a 50/50 split as the court will consider many factors in ultimately arriving at its decision.
New York City high-net-worth divorce lawyer Juan Luciano has years of experience helping and counseling wealthy and affluent clients throughout New York. Attorney Luciano is a knowledgeable divorce lawyer who is able to give his clients tips on handling their high-net-worth divorce. The lawyer is also skilled in giving his clients advice on what they should avoid during the divorce process.
To schedule a consultation, contact the law office of Juan Luciano Divorce Lawyer today.
What Happens if One Spouse Owns a Business?
New York divorce laws can present additional issues when one spouse is the owner or operator of a business. If the business was established during a marriage, it is usually considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution split 50/50 for a marriage that is longer than seven years. Thus, it is important to know the value of the business.
If the business was established before the marriage, its appreciation during the time of the marriage will be considered for equitable distribution. To determine marital appreciation, the present value will be compared to the value of the business at the time of the marriage. The business appraiser will need to make at least two appraisals for this.
An appraiser should also be able to determine the business’ true earnings. Business valuation often does not allow deductions or expenses. There is also the concern about how some businesses may not report income or over-report expenses in order to lower their reported profits. In such a case, a high-asset divorce lawyer may be able to assist the valuator in their investigation.
If you or your spouse owns a business and are looking into getting a divorce, it is important to speak with an experienced high-asset divorce attorney right away. A Manhattan lawyer may be able to provide the legal advice you need in order to get a more favorable outcome.
Penalty for Hiding Assets in Divorce
Dividing assets in a divorce can be complex, with each spouse entitled to retain their own non-marital property while marital assets are subject to division. Non-marital property can include property acquired prior to the marriage, inheritance, gifts from third parties, and assets stated as non-marital in a written agreement. However, marital assets, such as bank accounts, pensions, investments, and real estate, acquired during the marriage, are subject to division.
In some cases, a spouse may attempt to hide assets to retain more post-divorce. These could include bank accounts, retirement plans, and even debts. However, doing so can lead to severe penalties as all assets, debts, and income must be disclosed.
In states like New York, hiding assets during a divorce is considered perjury—an act of lying under oath. The act of hiding assets not only undermines the legal process but also damages the trust between parties involved in the settlement.
If suspicion arises, a forensic accountant may be engaged to investigate. These professionals specialize in examining financial records to identify discrepancies, making them invaluable during high-net-worth or contested divorces. As expert witnesses, their contributions carry substantial weight in court.
Therefore, the penalty for hiding assets in a divorce can be severe, not just legally but also financially. It could lead to a skewed division of assets, legal consequences for perjury, and potential damage to one’s reputation. Transparency and honesty are always the best policy when undergoing a divorce.
Why Hire A High Asset Divorce Lawyer?
Now you might be thinking: Aren’t all divorce attorneys the same? Well, if you and your spouse, own assets above $1M, do you want to put a divorce process, which will have serious consequences on your future, in the hands of someone who has never handled the complex details of a high-asset divorce? If you’re in a high-asset union, one error, one small oversight could cost you hundreds of thousands, or perhaps, millions. There’s simply too much at stake for you to take any chances.
Whether you’re an executive or business owner who has worked hard to build a substantial asset portfolio or a stay-at-home parent who has sacrificed a career for the sake of raising your children, you need to protect your interests.
|Business Established During Marriage||If the business was created during the marriage, it’s generally considered marital property subject to equitable distribution, often split equally.|
|Business Established Before Marriage||If the business existed before the marriage, its appreciation during the marriage may be considered for equitable distribution.|
|Determining Marital Appreciation||To assess marital appreciation, the present value is compared to the value at the time of marriage, typically requiring two appraisals.|
|Assessing True Business Earnings||Valuators aim to determine the business’s actual earnings, which may involve addressing concerns about underreporting income or overreporting expenses.|
|Importance of High-Asset Divorce Attorney||If one or both spouses own a business and are seeking a divorce, consulting an experienced high-asset divorce attorney is crucial for legal guidance.|
Choosing The Right High Asset Divorce Lawyer.
Finding the ideal attorney may be the difference between you receiving a fair settlement or walking away feeling wronged. You should seek the services of lawyers with proven track records. Select an attorney who has served clients with similar circumstances as yours, and was able to secure a favorable settlement.
Even though experience and legal skills are a must, it’s also important that you find an attorney who will listen to you keenly, but also one who is prepared to challenge your positions if they distract from, or worse, jeopardize the outcome you desire. Contact the law office of Juan Luciano Divorce Lawyer today to schedule a consultation.