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Property division is an often contentious aspect of divorce cases and is even more difficult if the spouses have high incomes and hold large financial resources. Wealthy people tend to have a wide variety of assets that must be quantified and valued so that each spouse’s share is properly calculated. This can be a lengthy and complicated process.
Florida follows the rule of equitable distribution, which means that a divorcing couple’s property will be divided fairly but not necessarily equally between them. A family court has great latitude in deciding how marital property will be divided. Of course, this discretion is not unlimited. Florida statutes require family court judges to consider a number of factors in dividing property, such as the duration of the marriage, each party’s financial circumstances, interruption of a spouse’s career or education and any incidents of dissipation, waste, fraud or abuse.
Applying these factors to the wealthy is not so simple. High-net-worth individuals tend to have complicated finances. Besides homes, cars and savings and retirement accounts, they also have stock options, deferred compensation plans, performance bonus incentives, art collections and other high-value assets. Establishing fair value for each asset often requires hiring experts at considerable expense. It can also take quite a bit of time and effort to find suitable buyers for expensive and unusual assets. Also, liquidating or dividing some types of property may have tax consequences that can seriously impact each spouse’s finances. People with substantial assets would be wise to seek representation by a high-net-worth divorce attorney to protect their rights and finances.
Wealthy family members usually have privileged lifestyles. In many cases, one spouse gives up his/her career in order to manage the household and other activities. The family may also enjoy such luxuries as country club memberships, private schools for the children and expensive hobbies or activities. Continued funding for these luxuries is addressed by way of periodic spousal support (also known as alimony) and child support. However, the family’s lifestyle can be considered in property division orders as well. A common question is which spouse retains the marital home, which becomes more difficult to resolve when there are multiple homes in different states or even in different countries. Each family member’s life circumstances can be a factor in deciding how homes should be divided.
Based in Miami, the Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. is one of South Florida’s premier divorce and family law firms. We are highly experienced in high-net-worth divorce cases. Feel free to contact us online or call 305-670-8656 for an initial consultation.
For many years, Lawrence S. Katz has helped clients in Florida, throughout the United States and abroad. He has earned an excellent worldwide reputation for providing knowledgeable, quality representation in family law matters.