Livingston High Asset Divorce Attorneys

What is Involved in a New Jersey High Net Divorce Case?

People contemplating high net worth divorce cases must contend with many issues that other couples don't have to face. When a high-profile individual files for divorce, they are much likelier to face unique problems. Athletes, politicians, executives, and entertainers must deal with the court process while also facing intense scrutiny from the media and the public. Your divorce might be sensationalized and simple facts might be taken out of proportion. When your detailed personal information is publicized, it could detrimentally impact your career and reputation. 

Thankfully, high-net-worth and high-profile people who want to get divorced in New Jersey can pursue a number of avenues to keep what happens in their divorce cases out of the public's eye. An experienced attorney from the Ziegler Law Group can help to keep most aspects of your case confidential other than the fact that your divorce decree was issued. Our attorneys have experience helping clients manage the complex issues that are often involved with high-net-worth divorce, including the following:

  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Real estate holdings
  • Businesses, partnerships, and valuations of professional practices
  • Stock options
  • Retirement accounts
  • Public and media interest

Prenuptial Agreements in High Net Worth Divorces

Many high-net-worth divorce cases involve prenuptial agreements. If you signed a prenuptial agreement with your spouse before your marriage, you will likely want to know how the document will affect the division of your assets. Our divorce attorneys will talk to you about your situation and the objectives you want to achieve, complete a detailed review of your prenuptial agreement, and speak with you about its likely impact on your divorce. 

When you are searching for an attorney to represent you in a complex divorce process, it is crucial to choose an attorney who focuses on divorce and family law and has experience in handling high net worth and high-profile divorce matters. 

For example, an attorney who lacks experience in complex divorce cases might not understand ERISA rules and how they might relate to prenuptial agreements. A divorce lawyer in New Jersey at the Ziegler Law Group understands that a prenuptial agreement can't override how an ERISA plan is distributed in a divorce. 

This means that even if your prenuptial agreement calls for you to waive your right to your spouse's employer-sponsored retirement account, you might still be entitled to receive a percentage of your spouse's 401(k) or other ERISA retirement account. However, if you signed a form after your marriage under ERISA to waive your right to future retirement benefits, the same will not be true. This example demonstrates why it's important to choose a divorce lawyer in New Jersey who has a thorough understanding of various laws and how they might interact in a complex divorce case. 

Real Estate Issues

For many couples, real estate comprises one of the most significant assets in their marital estates. As someone in a high-net-worth marriage, your real estate holdings could be vast and include your marital and vacation homes along with investment properties and commercial real estate. For all of these various types of real estate, you will need to figure out which portion is subject to equitable distribution in a New Jersey divorce and which portion might be exempt from inclusion in the marital estate. The following factors might be relevant in determining how your real estate holdings might be distributed:

  • Date of your marriage
  • Date the property was purchased
  • amount of the down payment
  • Source of all mortgage payments

For example, if you inherited the property or the money you used to make the down payment, your share of the property could be affected. After you have determined how your real estate holdings should be classified, you will need to determine whether you wish to sell or keep the property. Our experienced divorce attorneys can help you craft a solution that protects your interests. You might need to secure a property valuation to complete the settlement, or you might be required to seek intervention from the court if an agreement can't be reached. 

Business Valuation Issues

If you or your spouse owns a closely held business or professional practice or is a member of a partnership, your divorce case will likely take longer to resolve so that the business assets can be appropriately valued. This is true if your divorce is not amicable. In that situation, you might need a forensic accountant and/or an actuarial expert to value the business and determine its fair market value. If you or your spouse owned the business before your marriage, you will also need to determine whether it is a marital or separate asset. We can help you figure out a good arrangement for how to handle your business with your spouse, which might include a sale, buyout of your spouse's interest, annuitized settlement, or another arrangement. 

Stock Option Issues

When one spouse receives stock options as a part of their compensation package, the distribution of assets can be more complex. Stock options must be analyzed to identify the vesting schedule and identify which assets must be equitably distributed. You might also need to negotiate a constructive trust to deal with the tax consequences of a distribution of your stock options and protect your interests and rights. 

Retirement Account Issues

If you and your spouse have retirement accounts and acquired them before or after your marriage, a portion or all of the balances might be subject to distribution in your divorce. The value of your retirement account that has been accumulated after the date of your marriage until the date your divorce complaint was filed is typically subject to equitable distribution in New Jersey. Our attorneys work with experienced experts to prepare qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) to ensure you receive the appropriate share and avoid potential tax consequences that could otherwise occur. 

Minimizing Public Scrutiny in a High-Profile Divorce

Most people don't want the details of their divorce cases and personal lives splashed across the media. The attorneys at the Ziegler Law Group have extensive experience helping their clients to keep most aspects of their divorce cases as private as possible. 

We are skilled negotiators who work to reach a fair and full agreement for the division of property, alimony, child custody, and child support. We can also file a motion with the court to request the sealing of the settlement agreement when the divorce decree is issued. 

Our attorneys might retain an independent mediator for you and your spouse to try to facilitate a mutually agreed-upon settlement outside of court in private. We can also schedule divorce arbitration to have your case heard and decided outside of court in front of an arbitrator, which is a non-public hearing. 

Your divorce decree will be a matter of public record and can't be sealed. However, we can ask the court to seal your settlement so that it remains confidential. 

High Net Worth Divorce Attorneys in New Jersey

At the Ziegler Law Group, our experienced divorce attorneys know how high-net-worth and high-profile people have to face additional complexities when going through divorce cases. We strenuously advocate on behalf of our clients to protect their children, rights, and assets. Our attorneys take the time that is necessary to gain a clear understanding of the potential impacts of your divorce and to develop the most effective strategy for addressing all of the issues that might be involved. We can counsel you about the potential tax impacts of various types of property distributions, the QDRO process, and buyout alternatives. We understand how the commingling of separate assets with marital assets can affect the distribution of property and can help you determine the best way forward. 

Consult a High Net Worth Divorce Attorney in New Jersey

If you are anticipating a complex or high-profile divorce, it's important to choose an attorney who focuses on family and divorce law and has extensive experience representing clients in high-net-worth divorce matters. The attorney you retain must understand the intricacies of New Jersey's family law and how other areas of the law can impact your case.

At the Ziegler Law Group, our legal team has extensive experience representing clients in high-net-worth divorce cases and understands how to resolve complex issues while maintaining as much privacy for our clients as possible. To learn more about your legal options and how to protect your rights and interests, contact us today to schedule a consultation at (973) 878-4373.

Be proactive about your upcoming high asset divorce. Contact our firm at (973) 533-1100 to start exploring your legal options.


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