Q1. What are the first steps for high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs when it comes to getting a divorce?
Your first priority as a high net worth individual or entrepreneur who is divorcing is to protect your assets, which also includes your business if you are a business owner. The best thing you can do to protect your assets is to work with a divorce attorney who specializes in complicated divorces and understands what to do to protect your assets. Contacting an experienced attorney is the first thing you should do if you believe your marriage is coming to an end.
Q2. What unique child custody decisions do high net worth individuals face in a divorce?
Child custody decisions vary from case to case, but those individuals who have a high net worth face a few unique issues when divorcing. It is important to consider the ramifications of moving out of your family home before a divorce settlement is in place. You also need to be realistic about your ability to parent once you are no longer married and carefully consider your travel and work schedules. The more control you maintain and the less you hand over to the family court system, the better.
Q3. What are some child custody planning tips that are specific to my divorce?
Every divorce is different, so it is important to consult with an attorney about the specifics of your case, especially regarding child custody. A few general custody planning tips include:
- Create a written custody and visitation stipulation and order early in your divorce.
- Carefully assess your work and travel demands.
- Understand the disadvantages of moving out of the marital home before an agreement is in place.
- Contact a divorce attorney to help you negotiate a custody arrangement.
Q4. What role do my company perquisites play in my divorce as a high net worth individual?
Perquisites are special privileges you may be allotted through your work. For instance, a car allowance, expense allowance or other monetary dispensations might be a part of a high net worth individual’s income. These things can be classified as untaxed income, taxed income or a blend of the two. The issue of perquisites and their status as untaxed or taxed income is often an issue when there are disputes over child support.
Q5. What should I do if my spouse goes on a spending spree prior to our divorce?
Keep watch on your soon-to-be-former spouse’s spending habits and beware the sudden pre-divorce spending spree. This can be a problem because spouses assume that lavish spending can increase support. They might also believe they will be able to hoard whatever they purchase or protect them from your being dishonest about your income. If you believe a spending spree is in action, alert your attorney as soon as possible to the untoward actions.
Q6. How are child support and alimony calculated?
Child support is calculated differently based on the state in which the divorce occurs. In general, a specific formula is used that takes into account the paying parent’s income, the paying parent’s living expenses and the child’s current lifestyle. The goal of child support is to ensure the child’s lifestyle remains as close as possible to what it was pre-divorce. Alimony can be calculated in a similar manner or worked out between the divorcing spouses.
Q7. How can a forensic accountant help me in my divorce case?
Forensic accountants can offer a variety of assistance in a high net worth divorce. If you are a high net worth person, you should strongly consider hiring a forensic accountant. They can help you:
- Deal with controllable cash flow and income in terms of alimony and child support
- Provide business valuations in a divorce
- Trace separate property interests
Forensic accountants provide expert evidence that can make your case stronger in divorce proceedings.
Q8. What other professionals will I need to hire for my case as a high net worth individual?
As a high net worth individual, you have likely worked with a number of professionals throughout your life. These people can also offer guidance during your divorce. If you are in the process of divorce, you might consider hiring:
- An estate planning expert
- A business or corporate lawyer
- Real estate professionals
- A tax professional, such as a CPA, tax lawyer or a person with expertise in a specific area of taxation