Bronx High-Asset Divorce
Divorce is often the most the most stressful event anyone endures, second only to losing a loved one. You are ending a relationship with someone you expected to be with for the rest of your life, but that is just the beginning. Child custody matters can be painful and emotionally charged. And then there are the financial complications such as child support, division of property and possibly alimony with which to contend. When a couple is wealthy, a whole second level of complexity is added to divorce proceedings. The first thing you really must do if you have extensive assets is to consult with a very good Bronx high-asset divorce lawyer.
It’s not just the anxiety you may feel that so much is on the line. Even in the most amicable of cases, where assets of great worth are divided, experts must often be called in to give proper valuations. Domestic and international real estate, extensive and diversified stock portfolios, off-shore accounts, multiple and commercial properties, business interests, vacation homes, art collections and car collections are just some of the possible assets that make evaluating property for equitable distribution in a Bronx court or in any New York Court both a time consuming and painstakingly detailed process. A good attorney can bring together the team of experts you need to make your best case before a judge, a team that may include a variety of specialists from financial advisors to commercial real estate experts.Dividing Your Property
In any divorce, not a just a high-asset divorce, your attorney will need to call attention to several factors the judge should consider in order to make “equitable distribution” of marital property under the law. Contrary to popular belief, property is not just divided 50/50. Even if your name is on the title to a piece of property, though that certainly cannot hurt your case, it is not going to be the deciding factor when it comes to distribution.
New York law sets out what a judge in a Bronx divorce court can consider when determining property distribution. Domestic Relations Law 236(B)(5)(d) provides that a judge can consider
- the income and property of each party at the time of marriage, and at the time of the commencement of the action
- the duration of the marriage and the age and health of both parties
- the need of a custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects
- the loss of inheritance and pension rights upon dissolution of the marriage as of the date of dissolution
- the loss of health insurance benefits upon dissolution of the marriage
- any award of maintenance under subdivision six of this part
- any claim to or contribution made to the acquisition of marital property by the party not having title, including joint efforts or expenditures and contributions and services as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other party…
- the liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property
- the probable future financial circumstances of each party
- the impossibility or difficulty of evaluating any component asset or any interest in a business, corporation or profession, and the economic desirability of retaining such asset or interest intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party
- the tax consequences to each party
- the wasteful dissipation of assets by either spouse
- any transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration
- any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.
When you have a high-asset case, your Bronx divorce attorney must address these important issues:
- Valuation: Evaluating the worth of business interests, securities, collections and real estate can be incredibly complex and can take a long time. Make sure your attorney is using top experts to perform these evaluations so you can properly protect them.
- Determination of Marital Property: The concept that marital property, overall, is property acquired during the course of a marriage may seem simple. However, in a high-asset divorce case, it can be anything but easy. If the couple has been married a long time, property can become intermingled. High-value degrees and certifications may be considered marital property depending upon when a court determines they were acquired. A great deal of analysis may be required to ascertain just what is separate property and what is marital property.
- Alimony: Alimony is a great deal more complicated in a high-asset divorce case than in others. Though the judge must start with a statutory calculation in determining alimony, the payer’s income is capped at $178,000. In order to ensure an equitable result, the judge must take into account a great number of other factors.
- Tax consequences: Dividing property of great worth often has significant tax consequences. It is critical to be represented by a high-asset divorce attorney in the Bronx with experience dealing with the tax issues of these kinds of cases.
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements: If you had a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement, a judge will generally follow their terms unless the attorney for one of the parties challenges it, perhaps for fraud, or unless it is wildly inequitable. As property changes during a marriage, agreements can fall out of date. It’s a good idea to have your attorney take a look at your agreement on a regular basis, so if you do get a divorce, it is still of consequence.
If you are wealthy, it is critical that you are represented by a top Bronx divorce lawyer experienced in handling high-asset cases. Evaluating property and analyzing finances are both complex and time consuming when dealing with great wealth. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully representing clients in high net worth divorces and complex marital estates. We also represent clients on issues related to custody, child support and spousal support. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.