Guest Column

Financial Considerations Divorcing Couples Need To Understand

Jim McGlew

Individuals engaged in a divorce understand that the dissolution of their marriage can be a difficult and complicated process.  For individuals of high net worth, the divorce process can present a complex maze of responsibilities and decisions which need to be addressed.  The prospect of valuing marital assets, including properties, business interests, investments and the like, along with the task of distributing their value between the parties, has the ability to make an already tense situation worse.

 There are specific issues that high net worth individuals must consider in anticipation of divorce.  At Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, we have years of experience in handling high net worth divorce cases for individuals in Westfield, Cranford, Warren and other New Jersey communities.  We understand our clients’ concerns regarding the financial impact their divorce will impose on their lives and understand that providing individualized attention is necessary to provide the aggressive representation which is often required.

Thorough preparation and investigation are always required to truly understand the parties’ incomes, assets, debts, property, and budgetary needs.  As an example, if you are a valued employee earning a significant level of income, you will be required to produce proof of your current income, your tax returns for several years, a schedule of any other perks you receive through your employment including travel and expense accounts, and a schedule of any benefits from your employer including pension benefits, 401(k) accounts, stock options, deferred compensation, restricted stock, life insurance and other related benefits.

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If you are a business owner you will be required to produce business tax returns for a minimum of five years, as well as other related business financial records. This will be in addition to the disclosure of income and benefits you receive from your business.  Privacy issues concerning the disclosure of this information are of the utmost importance and we take all necessary steps to ensure that your business information is protected.

If one or both of the parties has an ownership interest in a business or partnership, a formal valuation by a qualified forensic accountant will generally be required to determine the business’ value and the amount of interest each spouse has in the business.  Lindabury works to match the forensic accountant best suited to assist you in this process. In high net worth cases, each asset must be carefully examined to determine which assets are subject to equitable distribution (and to what extent) and which are considered separate property. Negotiations to obtain a fair settlement can be complex and may involve considerations such as whether to sell or liquidate an asset and divide the proceeds, or retain and allocate the asset to one spouse in exchange for an asset of comparative value. 

If you have concerns about protecting your financial interests in a high net worth divorce, it is always beneficial to seek the guidance and assistance from an attorney with experience.  At Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, our practice includes diverse expertise in related areas including tax, real estate, corporate law, and trusts, which we utilize to provide comprehensive legal advice to high net worth individuals who are dissolving a marriage. Our New Jersey divorce lawyers represent people throughout the state in all areas of family law, including child custody and support, alimony, asset distribution, and more.

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper provides legal representation to people in communities across Union, Somerset, Monmouth, Middlesex, Morris, and Bergen Counties, among other areas.  Call today to schedule a consultation with James McGlew at 908-233-6800.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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