High Asset Divorce

When going through a divorce, assets are almost always divided. For married couples who have accumulated financial assets, one of the most common questions we hear relates to how individuals can protect their assets including stocks, retirement assets and business interests.

As a general rule, any financial interest acquired during a marriage is marital property which subjects it to division in a divorce. At the Law Office of Gina Smalley, we work to help protect financial interests by teaming up with other professionals to evaluate financial assets and provide educated advice about how to protect assets and the best way to divide them in an effort to decrease financial strain.

For those individuals with a high net worth (defined as total marital assets of $1 million or more), there are additional considerations that must be addressed. First, it is important to note that how an asset is titled is generally irrelevant when it comes to distribution of assets in a divorce. There are, of course, exceptions to that general rule, but for the most part, assets in a divorce will be divided between spouses regardless of whose name is on an asset.

Although the general rule is that assets are divided, this is not always the case. Some financial assets will remain with 100% with the party whose name is on the asset. Other times, however, assets must be divided. In situations where one or both spouses has acquired significant assets, oftentimes money, stocks, mineral rights and other financial gains are spread out in different states and sometimes in other countries. Situations like this require an attorney that not only knows the basics of asset division, but also one who knows how to find assets and how money that is not liquidated gets divided.

In a high asset divorce, child support and alimony calculations are oftentimes in play. In addition to regular W2 income, the following are types of income that are used to determine child support:

  • Interest income
  • Dividends
  • Bonuses
  • Annuities
  • Trust income
  • Capital Gains
  • Retirement Income
  • Gifts that can be converted to cash
  • Fringe benefits.

In Georgia, the formula used to calculate child support caps gross monthly income at $30,000.00. For those that earn higher than $30,000 monthly, a court can be requested to deviate from the child support guidelines in an effort to provide an equitable child support amount.

Finally, oftentimes people with high net worth desire to keep their assets private and are generally less inclined to “air out dirty laundry” before a judge or jury. There are several alternatives to a costly litigated divorce that can be utilized to help keep assets and even the divorce itself private.

At the Law Office of Gina Smalley, our lawyers have years of experience finding, analyzing and reviewing financial and real property assets and will work diligently to be sure assets are protected. We also are familiar with the alternative methods of reaching finality in ways that protect privacy and maintain dignity.

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