Safety Net: High Net Worth Divorce in New York
Most couples work to maintain and plan for a solid financial future, retirement, and support for their children. If those couples reach the end of their marriage, I work to help them keep plans intact even as their marriage dissolves.
Preservation of wealth is an important feature of any divorce—for those with modest means or millions. While facing the same emotional instability as other couples, partners with high net worth face additional complexities in maintaining the financial safety net they sought to provide themselves and their family.
High net worth means high stakes. New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning courts seek equitable distribution of the marital estate—not necessarily equal division. Protecting wealth means forensic investigation, identification, and valuation of the following:
- Business interests, professional degrees, and professional practices
- Savings and investment portfolios, offshore accounts, trusts, and retirement accounts
- Real property—residential and commercial
- Intellectual property, lease rights, tax shelters, and hidden assets
- Marital debt
Characterization of assets as marital or separate is critical upon divorce. Separate assets are those owned prior to marriage, or acquired as a gift by one party during marriage—like an inheritance not commingled with other monies. The marital estate includes all property, assets, and debt acquired by a couple during their marriage.
Money lost to litigation is lost forever. The goal of my work with high net worth couples is to find and preserve wealth for the future to come, instead of seeing it dissolve along with the marriage that earned it.