Ending your marriage is already a stressful, emotional process, but it can be even more complex in the case of high net worth divorces. When both you and your spouse have accumulated substantial assets in both personal property and real estate, it’s challenging to work out a fair asset division agreement. Also, there are complicated legal rules regarding spousal maintenance, otherwise known as alimony.
Unless you have an experienced, skilled divorce attorney by your side, your legal rights are at risk. Our divorce lawyers at Greenville Family Attorneys are the knowledgeable, dedicated counsel you need to protect your interests in a Greenville, South Carolina high net worth divorce. We have been serving clients throughout South Carolina for decades, so you can feel comfortable that your case is in good hands.
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What Is a High Net Worth Divorce?
Traditionally, a high net worth divorce is a divorce involving over one million dollars in net liquid assets. However, today, the amount has significantly increased, and more and more high net worth divorce cases involve multiple millions of dollars. Greenville Family Attorneys regularly handles such divorce cases.
South Carolina is an equitable division state, so the family law court hears the evidence from the divorcing parties. The court then establishes what is a fair and equitable distribution of marital property.
The family court judge considers many factors in making the final decision. In South Carolina, it doesn’t matter whose name property is titled, as long as the property was purchased during the marriage, and marital funds were used, in part to buy the property. When dividing the equity interest in the marital home, for instance, the family court judge will consider both parties’ contributions to the home, whether financial or in-kind, via “sweat equity.”
Usually, a high net worth divorce presents unique challenges that relate to the identification, valuation, and distribution of the marital property.
If you have worked hard to accumulate this level of wealth, you have a lot at risk. High net worth individuals need a high net worth lawyer with extensive experience handling these types of cases to reduce the risks and ensure a full and fair marital property division. Those facing a high net worth divorce have substantially more at stake than their middle-income counterparts. Our family law firm provides peace of mind to our clients involved in high net worth divorces.
What Makes A High Net Worth Different from Other Divorces?
When dividing property in a divorce, a family court judge begins with a 50/50 split. However, spouses may negotiate to change this arrangement. In high net worth divorces, the stakes of these negotiations are much higher. Because awarding just one percent to either spouse accounts for tens of thousands of dollars.
For instance, for a $20 million marital estate, each additional percent is $200,000. Thus, in high net worth divorce cases, a thorough understanding of accounting, business valuations, and finance is critical. Thus, it’s crucial to have an experienced attorney by your side to help ensure fair property division.
What Is Considered Abandonment in a Marriage in South Carolina?
To file for divorce in South Carolina, you must file on some type of grounds. Depending on the circumstances of your separation, you can file on no-fault grounds or you may choose an at-fault ground.
Under South Carolina divorce law, abandonment is termed “desertion”. Desertion entails living apart for at least one year without the consent of the deserted spouse and with no appropriate justification. The deserting spouse must not intend to resume living with their deserted spouse.
To file for a divorce in South Carolina on at-fault grounds of abandonment or desertion, the deserted spouse must prove that their spouse deserted him or her for at least one year.
If one spouse leaves the other, this doesn’t qualify as desertion, so don’t be afraid to leave a toxic situation before filing for divorce. Only when you leave for a period of one year without the consent of your spouse does this qualify as desertion.
Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First in South Carolina?
If you’re going through a divorce, you may wonder if there are any benefits in being the first one to hire an attorney and file your paperwork with the court.
One benefit of being the first to file for any family court case is that it allows you time to gather, review, and organize your information. Plus, it allows you to meet with and hire a divorce attorney, determine what documents will be needed in your case, and start making financial preparations for the inevitable split, such as opening your own bank account.
Having additional time to get all that done first, instead of being surprised by being served with pleadings and notice of hearing, is a significant benefit. Instead of scrambling to hire a divorce attorney, file your response, and prepare for a hearing on brief notice, you’ll be ahead, at least during the initial phase of the divorce process.
It’s beneficial to be the first to make statements about your marriage and the reasons for your divorce. Because the initial pleadings filed with the family court to start the case contain the filing spouse’s allegations as to the reasons for seeking a divorce. If an experienced attorney drafts your initial pleadings, this can help you lay a solid foundation for the case you intend to make and the story you want to tell.
By being the first to file for divorce, your pleadings will most likely be the first thing the judge reads and your lawyer will be the first to make her or his presentation at most hearings. Getting your story on the record first and controlling how it’s presented can make a significant difference in how your case plays out.
What Assets Can a High Net Worth Divorce Impact?
Outside the standard issues in the average divorce, a high net worth divorce affects other aspects of your finances. Also, family law courts will thoroughly examine both you and your spouse’s financial records to have a clear picture of how your marriage functions financially.
If you’re caught incorrectly or untruthfully submitting your financial records, you risk an investigation by the IRS. The following assets may come under scrutiny during a high net worth divorce:
- Retirement accounts, 401 (k)’s, pensions, and benefits are deemed as shared assets during a marriage, so they are all up for equitable division in a divorce.
- Shared business, partnerships, or business investments. If you and your spouse own a business, it may be subject to fair division.
- Real estate and property holdings. Other properties you own, including vacation homes, your primary residence, and timeshares may also be affected during a high net worth divorce.
- Out of state and international assets. If you and your spouse conduct business in foreign countries, you’ll face certain tax consequences during a divorce.
Contact Our Greenville High Net Worth Divorce Lawyers Today!
At Greenville Family Lawyers, we have decades of experience in all issues surrounding a high net worth divorce. We will work hard to make sure you and your children can maintain your current standard of living. Also, our experienced lawyers will protect your privacy during this tough time. We’ll work with experts to assess and value all your marital assets.
If you want to avoid the public scrutiny of a high net worth divorce, then you and your spouse can settle property division, child custody and support, and alimony in a private room. Let our experienced family law lawyers help you make an educated decision about your financial and personal affairs.
To schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (864) 475-9393, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.