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Tips for finding the right attorney for a high-asset divorce

Going through a divorce is never a walk in the park. But high-asset divorce introduces an entirely new set of complications into the mix. If handled incorrectly, it could have drastic implications on your future.

Whether you earn an unusually high income or you’ve accumulated significant assets through other means, divorce can be especially complex and costly. In such cases, it’s particularly import to find a divorce attorney with extensive experience in these types of cases.

What makes a high-asset divorce so complex?

With standard divorces, the division of property may be relatively straightforward. It can be fairly easy to determine whether your home or car is considered separate or community property and how it should be divided. High-asset cases, however, often involve additional types of property, which can be a bit more convoluted to assess. Some examples include:

  • Businesses and professional practices
  • Investment real estate
  • Stocks
  • Intellectual property

What do you need in a high-asset divorce attorney?

In high-asset divorces, you need to have an attorney with the right mix of knowledge and experience in matters specific to your case. Here are some basic rules of thumb:

  • Your attorney should be transparent. An experienced attorney should be able to give you detailed advice with respect to the potential outcome of your case and the costs involved.
  • Your attorney should have the right experience to make your case cost effective. High-asset divorce involves many complex factors. If you hire an attorney with no experience in these types of divorces, they’ll need to hire external accountants and financial consultants—which will end up costing you more.
  • Having a law degree is not enough. High-asset cases require an attorney who is also versed in financial and real estate matters, business negotiations as well as patent law, as applicable. For instance, if you refinance your property during the marriage, or if it undergoes transmutation, you need a lawyer who understands how these factors impact its status as separate or community property.
  • Your attorney should have a structured game plan. In high-asset divorces, the financial issues are exponentially more complex than in standard divorces. You need a lawyer who has a pre-divorce planning methodology in place—a clear understanding of where and how to retrieve all of the necessary financial documentation efficiently.
  • Your attorney should have deep experience handling prenups. If you have a prenuptial agreement in place, you need an attorney who has considerable experience drafting and litigating such agreements. If any part of the agreement is ambiguous, it can have serious implications on asset distribution.

With high-asset divorce, it’s particularly important to do your homework on any attorney you hire. The extra effort will pay off in the long run.

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