Miami Attorney Protects Your Assets in High-Net-Worth Divorce
Experienced and knowledgeable lawyer implements proven strategies
Miami is home to many affluent business people, athletes and entertainment personalities. When divorce hits them, the financial aspects are exponentially more complex. Even when the split isn’t contentious, simply analyzing the assets and debts to arrive at an equitable distribution takes time and specialized resources. When the spouses are at odds — and especially when they are not fully honest — the challenge of achieving a fair settlement is even greater. When you retain The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A., you get more than 50 years of experience and a long track record of success in dealing with high-value divorces.
Managing disclosures of domestic and foreign properties
As part of a Florida divorce proceeding, each spouse must fully disclose all assets and debts, both domestic and foreign. Typically, an affluent couple will have such property as:
- Vacation homes
- Rental properties
- Luxury cars and other motor vehicles
- Boats and yachts
- Charter jet memberships/helicopter services
- Businesses with tangible assets, indebtedness, and intellectual property assets
- Art and wine collections
- Fine jewelry
- Club memberships, such as for country clubs or golf courses
- Retirement accounts, including 401(k) accounts, IRAs and pension funds
- Stocks and stock options
Florida requires each spouse to file a financial affidavit, a sworn statement that their disclosure is true and complete. The spouses must produce tax returns for the last three years, bank account statements, earning statements and credit card statements. Both domestic and foreign property must be included.
Finding hidden and fraudulently transferred assets in divorce
But what happens when a spouse is dishonest and does not disclose assets? There are common ruses a spouse might employ to hide assets, such as:
- Transferring assets to a third party for holding —Evidence of a fraudulent transfer includes nominal consideration that is way below market value for the asset and a recipient who is considered a confidant of the transferor. If your spouse has made a fraudulent transfer to prevent you from sharing in a marital asset, we can unwind that transfer and return the asset to the marital estate.
- Off-shoring financial assets — Many business people situate assets overseas where tax rates are lower or where their ownership can remain anonymous. Failure to disclose these assets is a violation and can bring charges of perjury.
- Underreporting cash revenues — If you and your spouse own and operate cash-heavy businesses, it would not be unreasonable to assume your spouse has been hiding income from you and the IRS.
Your spouse’s failure to fully disclose assets can put you at a considerable disadvantage in property settlement talks. But if you have an experienced attorney on your side, who knows how to spot the telltale signs and who has a team of professionals trained in forensic accounting at his disposal, you have a better chance of obtaining your fair share of the hidden property.
More special considerations for high-value marital estates
There are additional complex matrimonial matters that come with being an affluent couple embroiled in a divorce. These include:
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements — These contracts are commonly entered to control how property belonging to each spouse is to be divided if the couple divorces. Often, where a divorce involves foreign nationals who are in the U.S. on visas and or have dual citizenship, there may be a prenup that was drafted overseas. The agreement may be enforceable in the country where it was entered into but not in Florida. What’s more, the agreement may provide that the law of the foreign country will govern its interpretation.
- Estate plans — Affluent couples generally take proactive steps to deal with issues related to growing old, retiring and ultimately passing wealth on to their successors. Any property settlement must consider the beneficiary status of each spouse in each estate planning instrument.
- Tax consequences — Property distribution and alimony have tax consequences and your attorney must alert you to the different levels of exposure created by various settlement options. The tax implications are more complicated when major assets are located offshore.
When you retain our services, you get comprehensive legal advice that contemplates how every potential step taken by your spouse could impact your share of the marital property. We pore over every financial detail to help you obtain the greatest possible share of the wealth you deserve.
How assets and debts are valued
Under Florida’s equitable distribution law, assets and debts are treated identically for purposes of equitable distribution. Both are subject to valuation, which is often a contentious process. Spouses sometimes hide assets or hire appraisers who give low valuations. They also claim marital assets should be treated as separate property and try to place their own separate debt in the marital estate to be shared with their spouse. Finally, a spouse may try to challenge a prenuptial or postnuptial marital agreement, seeking nullification. When dealing with the various tactics warring spouses use to increase their property haul, there’s no substitute for your attorney’s experience in these matters.
Let our Miami divorce law firm protect your assets in a high-net-worth divorce
At The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A., we provide comprehensive representation in contested divorces between high-net-worth couples. Our office is easily accessible from the Dadeland South Metrorail. Call us at 786-991-2629 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Se habla español.