Considerations For High-Net-Worth Divorce


Navigating the divorce process can be financially and emotionally overwhelming. New Jersey’s equitable distribution laws, however, can make high-net-worth divorces even more complicated.  This is because assets and liabilities are not simply split 50/50 in New Jersey; they are split based on what the court determines to be fair.  The first step in a high-net-worth divorce is to identify and value all assets and liabilities. Individual assets must be differentiated from marital assets.  All property will be considered a marital asset unless a party can prove it was owned prior to the marriage or was a gift or inheritance intended for the individual that was no comingled with a marital asset.

Retaining an experienced high-net-worth New Jersey divorce attorney is critical to achieving an equitable resolution and walking away from the divorce financially sound. Lumi Law Firm has the experience and knowledge to help high-net-worth individuals in Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex Counties protect their legal and financial interests as well as their privacy.

Contact the Lumi Law Firm, LLC at (848) 220-9383 to learn how we can help you through your high-net-worth divorce.

What is a High-Net-Worth Divorce?

While New Jersey does not have an exact definition of high net worth as it pertains to divorce, a high-net-worth divorce generally involves couples with more than one million in assets or those who own an interest in a business or businesses.  In addition to the typical issues pertaining to child support and child custody, high-net-worth divorce cases involve a variety of financial considerations, which can include prenuptial agreements, real estate, business valuations, stock options and retirement assets.

Prenuptial Agreements

While other rights and obligations may be stipulated, the most common purpose of a prenuptial (or premarital) agreement is to identify an individual’s premarital assets and liabilities so that they are excluded from equitable distribution should the couple divorce.  New Jersey recognizes prenuptial agreements.  If the prenuptial agreement is deemed enforceable in whole or in part, its terms must be taken into account when considering asset distribution and alimony.  Your divorce attorney will review your prenup and discuss with you any impact it may have on the resolution of your divorce.

Real Estate

Real estate tends to be one of the most significant assets, and often the largest liability, of the marital estate.  Real estate includes the marital home as well as any vacation homes, commercial properties or investment properties.  It will need to be determined what portion of net value of property is subject to equitable distribution and what, if any, portion is exempt.  Factors that will be considered in determining whether to divide a property’s net value include:  the date of the marriage; the amount and source of the down payment; and how and by whom the mortgage and taxes on the property were paid. Once real estate assets are identified and valued, it will also need to be determined whether to keep or sell the properties. There are critical questions that must be answered and decisions made regarding real estate. The Lumi Law Firm can help you protect your interest in these assets.

Business Valuations

Business valuations and the distribution of partnerships and professional practices can be complicated and often require the use of financial experts. Forensic accountants will thoroughly review the business, its location, books and records, general ledgers, payroll, assets, receivables, inventory and all other records of the business. The high-net-worth attorneys at Lumi Law Firm will work closely with these experts to ensure your interests are protected and to facilitate a fair and equitable distribution of these assets.

Stock Options

Stock options and restricted stock units, or RSUs, are often included as part of an individual’s employment compensation. Your high-net-worth divorce attorney will review your stock options and RSUs to determine if these assets are subject to equitable distribution and establish a framework for the division.

Retirement Assets

IRAs, pensions, 401(k)s and other retirement assets, including SEPs and SERPs, acquired during the marriage are generally considered marital assets subject to equitable distribution. The division of these assets is typically handled through a domestic relations order entered after the divorce judgment is entered. Domestic relations orders are often prepared with the assistance of an actuary to ensure your interest in the asset is properly calculated and to instruct the retirement plan as to how the account is to be divided.

Contact A New Jersey High Net Worth Divorce Attorney

High-net-worth divorce matters in New Jersey are complicated and require the assistance of an experienced high-net-worth divorce attorney who understands the applicable New Jersey laws.  At Lumi Law Firm, we have the experience, knowledge and skill to guide you through the process and protect your interests every step of the way. Call the Lumi Law Firm today at (848) 220-9383 to schedule a consultation.