IAML Fellow, Lawrence Katz of Florida, USA speaks at the IAML Hague Symposium in Buenos Aires, Argentina in September 2013 on the subject of International Relocations.
Protecting your assets during divorce or separation
Divorce and separation bring about complex financial and property division issues for couples with accumulated joint assets, especially for high-net-worth couples. In a divorce, Florida law requires that everything acquired during the marriage be distributed equitably. At The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A., we work to ensure that you receive a fair and equitable share of the marital assets. We also provide knowledgeable legal guidance on the complicated estate planning and tax issues caused by divorce.
Assets in divorce are classified as either marital or non-marital. Marital assets are those assets accumulated from the date of your marriage until the date of filing a petition for dissolution of marriage with certain exceptions. Non-marital assets generally include those assets you had prior to marriage and any passive appreciation of those assets, along with gifts and inheritances received during the marriage. We help facilitate a fair asset division by identifying marital assets and obtaining valuations of businesses and appraisals of personal and real property. We push to achieve a quick resolution and are experienced in drafting and negotiating property and marital settlement agreements.
Our knowledgeable matrimonial attorney assists wealthy business executives, celebrities, athletes and other clients in the Miami area who own valuable assets, such as:
When dividing significant assets, it is critical to have a family law attorney with an in-depth understanding of potential tax implications. Property distribution must be done in a manner that does not create additional tax liabilities. We help clients legally avoid negative tax consequences when possible and work with forensic accountants. Some of the tax issues we discuss with clients include:
- Tax gain — The transfer of property to a former spouse incident to divorce is not recognized as a gain or loss for tax purposes. A transfer of property is incident to divorce if the transfer occurs within one year after the date on which the marriage ceases, or is related to the divorce and is pursuant to a divorce or separation instrument and occurs not more than six years after the date on which the marriage ceases.
- Gift tax — The transfer of marital property rights under a property settlement agreement that was incorporated into a divorce decree is not subject to gift tax. Transfers made that are not pursuant to an agreement incorporated into a divorce decree may still be exempt under certain circumstances.
- Alimony — For tax purposes, alimony is generally deductible by the payor and included in gross income and thereby taxable to the payee.
During your marriage, you may have listed your spouse as a beneficiary or representative on many important legal documents. It is important to update these documents as soon as possible during divorce or separation:
- Wills — Under Florida law, provisions of a will or trust signed during marriage that affect your spouse become void upon the final dissolution of the marriage. If something happens to you during the pendency of your divorce, however, the fact that a divorce was pending does not keep your spouse from inheriting according to the terms of your will.
- Trusts — Minor children cannot inherit your estate until they reach the age of majority. If your spouse was named as trustee, you should update your trust documents to name another trustee.
- Healthcare surrogate — A designation of your spouse as your healthcare surrogate is revoked when the divorce is final, and it is important to appoint a new person to make medical decisions if you are unable to do so.
- Durable power of attorney — Upon filing for divorce in Florida, any powers your spouse had under a durable power of attorney are automatically terminated. You should select another person to be your agent and execute a new document.
- Beneficiary designation — Beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies or annuities, for example, are not automatically revoked upon divorce and should be updated to appoint a new beneficiary.
- Subsequent marriages — If you remarry following a divorce or the death of your spouse, it is important to update wills and trusts, especially if you already have children.
Dividing businesses in divorce proceedings
Even if the ownership interest of a business is in only one spouse’s name, it may still be marital property. Having a business valuation done by a qualified expert is critical, because divorcing spouses often disagree about the value of a business. We work closely with qualified forensic accountants who are certified to arrive at a fair valuation of the business and fight to ensure that you receive your fair share.
Call our Miami-Dade County and South Florida family law firm
Trust your future to The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. Our high ethical standards provide clients with the confidence needed to face complex matrimonial issues. The decisions you make during the divorce process may affect you for the rest of your life. Let us help you secure your future. Contact us at 786-991-2629 or online today to schedule a consultation. Se habla español.