The High Asset and High Net Worth Divorce – By John P. Paone, Jr.

At Paone Zaleski & Murray, we have vast experience handling high asset and high net worth divorce matters.

A final resolution of issues in your divorce action including but not limited to alimony, equitable distribution, and child support will be determined in part based upon what assets are in existence and how they will be distributed. Too frequently, litigants overlook the fact finding and discovery process wherein a concerted effort must be made to ensure that all assets have been quantified.

Many assets are readily identifiable such as bank accounts wherein statements are routinely sent to the home or wherein interest or dividend income is reported on Schedule B of your personal income tax returns. However, in the high asset and high net worth divorce, assets may not be so easily discernible.

When a party to a divorce action is self-employed, substantial income from that business may not always be reported. Personal expenses may be getting satisfied through the business. The business may be retaining earnings rather than paying the earnings out to the business owner.

When a party to a divorce action is an executive at a Fortune 500 or Fortune 100 company or other large company, they may have an array of different forms of benefits that may not always be discernible by looking at a pay stub. For example, they may have stock, stock options, stock units, restricted stock units (RSU’’S), pensions, 401(k), other retirement plans, flex spending, health savings accounts, and they may be eligible for termination benefits from their employer upon leaving and signing bonuses upon becoming employed by a new company. Sometimes the bonuses or other compensation do not vest immediately, but rather over a period of years or upon the triggering of certain events.

Even the non-executive can have access to funds such as an inheritance, which while it may be exempt from equitable distribution, may have the ability of giving a party access to substantial unearned income. A non-executive can have assets overseas; in non-interest bearing accounts; in real estate or in other surreptitious vehicles.

Whether you or your spouse is a business owner, an attorney, a medical practitioner, or an executive level employee, it is critical to have representation by a skilled attorney to make sure that your interests are protected. Many times it is necessary for that attorney to know what other professional may be needed to assist in advocating for your rights such as a forensic accountant, an actuary or benefits evaluator, or tax professional.

At Paone Zaleski & Murray, we take every matter extremely seriously. We will not be outworked and we do not leave any stone unturned.

At Paone Zaleski & Murray, we have the experience and the expertise to guide you to a fair and equitable resolution of your high asset and high net worth divorce. To schedule an initial consultation, please contact our firm to schedule a time to meet with one of our three partners who have been Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as Matrimonial Law Attorneys to discuss your matter in greater detail.