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Common Mistakes in High Net Worth Divorces


Divorce is never easy, but divorces involving large amounts of money, property, and other assets are even more challenging. In addition to the types of issues present in typical divorces, such as spousal and child support, child custody, visitation rights, etc., high net worth divorces can involve the added burden of determining, for example, how the value of business and stock options will be split, or who will gain possession of a high-value asset. With higher amounts of assets, there is more potential for error on both sides – and more to lose.

As a New York divorce lawyer for more than 35 years, I have handled many financially complex and high net worth divorces. If you are considering a divorce, be aware of these common pitfalls:

  • Don’t make anger your motivator. Divorce is an emotional time, and making decisions based on anger can have disastrous results. Fighting about every aspect of your divorce may initially feel satisfying, but remember that the more contentious your divorce, the more time and money you will have to spend on it. It is difficult to make sound decisions about your future when revenge is your primary motivation. Talk with a psychologically savvy attorney.
  • Don’t allow guilt to influence your decisions. A person who asks their spouse for a divorce may feel guilty about it. In many cases, this leads them to give more than they should when it comes to property division. However, when it comes to divorce, you should treat it the same way as a business dissolution. Decisions should not be based on emotions – rather, they should be guided by the advice of an experienced attorney who can help ensure that assets are divided fairly.
  • Don’t agree to anything just to get the divorce.One should never rush through the divorce process. Rushing through important decisions such as property division or alimony just to get away from a person as quickly as possible is never a good idea – it can have devastating financial consequences and leave you with less than what you may be entitled to.
  • Don’t hide assets.Some spouses think that they can get away with hiding a valuable asset in order to avoid potentially losing it during property division. This is often accomplished by transferring the asset into someone else’s name until after the divorce. This action will likely be considered fraudulent and could end up seriously hurting you in court. Discuss your concerns with your lawyer.
  • Remember to consider tax consequences.When you receive certain assets during a divorce, don’t forget to consider your tax obligations on those assets. For example, you could be taxed on a pension, or you could agree to an alimony amount without knowing how much you will actually clear after you’ve paid taxes. When it comes to high net worth divorce, knowing how taxes will affect your divorce is critical.
  • Make sure you choose the right lawyer.High net worth divorces can be complex, and require a high standard of professionalism, sophistication, and discretion. Thus, it is critical that you hire a highly skilled and experienced attorney to protect your best interests. A good attorney will help you think strategically and clearly and navigate you through the entire process. Don’t place your trust in just any lawyer – look for a trusted and highly rated attorney with ample relevant experience to represent you.

If you’ve worked hard to develop a high net worth for yourself, you’ll want to make sure that it is protected. Conversely, if you’ve worked hard to maintain a home and raise children, you’ll want to fight for as large a settlement as possible to help maintain a bright future for you and your children.

When it comes to your financial future and that of your family, don’t leave anything to chance. Get in touch with New York divorce lawyer Lois M. Brenner, Esq. to schedule an appointment. There is no case too difficult for Lois Brenner to handle!