New York High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer

Last Updated on

A divorce is always one of life’s most stressful times. But for high-net-worth individuals, most of whom are business owners, entrepreneurs and successful professionals, a divorce can be a permanently life-altering event. Spouses that never produced a dime of income throughout the duration of a marriage can be handed the keys to businesses, cash flows and real property. Often times, the implications of this can extend far beyond the productive spouse who is being cleaned out of the rightful fruits of their labor. It can also extend to employees of involved businesses, tenants of rental properties and the family, including children from other marriages, of the spouse being sued. It is absolutely crucial, no matter how amicable the proceedings may seem, that any high-net-worth individual who is involved in a divorce seeks the counsel of a highly experienced and talented legal team.

No-fault divorce and equitable distribution create all the wrong incentives

Particularly for those who may have married young, prior to the accumulation of significant wealth, the incentives created by no-fault divorce in the state of New York, along with the so-called equitable distribution method of asset divvying, are perverse enough to be serious cause for concern. For example, if a couple suddenly finds itself sitting on a $10 million net worth, with only one spouse having been responsible for the vast majority of that wealth accumulation, the non-productive spouse will have tremendous incentive to seek a divorce. In fact, this is precisely the type of case that we see taking place every day in the state of New York.

While married, the non-productive spouse may have little actual control over the assets, besides being able to drive a nice car or live in a nice house. They may also have significant perceived restrictions placed on their lifestyle. But with equitable distribution, these spouses know that, at an absolute minimum, they are likely to be awarded a third of the couple’s net worth in a divorce. With New York’s newly enacted no-fault divorce laws, this means that they effectively have an option worth at least $3.3 million, which they can exercise at their discretion. That option is filing for divorce.

And while it may be tempting in the above scenario to think of the non-productive spouse as being a woman and the earner being a man, increasingly, we are seeing high-net-worth women losing everything they’ve spent their lives working for, due to no-fault, frivolous divorces. It cannot be stressed enough. If you are a high-net-worth individual, who is facing a frivolous divorce, it is absolutely crucial that you get in contact with an experienced legal team that can get you results.

The bad news is that, in most cases, divorce will result in non-productive spouses getting something, usually a sizable amount of cash and possibly the house. The good news is that those settlements can be kept in the 10 to 20 percent of net assets range, particularly if the divorce proceedings can be kept out of the courtroom. For many spouses, the temptation of getting a windfall worth more money than they can expect to make in a lifetime of work will prove to be too much. When it does, our experienced and talented lawyers will be there to protect you and your assets.