Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

East Brunswick High Net Worth Divorce Cases

Some divorce cases can be more complicated than others depending on the value of the assets involved. Experienced divorce attorneys can determine, during the initial consultation, whether or not the case is a high net worth divorce versus a simpler one with much fewer assets.

If you are going through divorce proceedings in East Brunswick and believe you may classify as a high net worth divorce, consult with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Individual vs. Joint Net Worth

With some exception, the general rule of thumb is that all assets acquired during the marriage are going to be split equally between the two spouses. However, there can be exceptions to this general rule, such as if one spouse comes from a very wealthy family and the other spouse does not.

Under that scenario, the spouse who did not come from a wealthy family may get used to a certain lifestyle. These cases can sometimes be very difficult to settle because the spouses may argue as to the division of the assets in their East Brunswick high net worth divorce.

Inherited Assets

It is very common in New Jersey high net worth divorce case that one or both parties received an inheritance. When this occurs, an attorney will work diligently to ensure that the money is distributed fairly.

For example, if one spouse receives a liquid inheritance that goes into a bank account, keeps that bank account in their name only, does not take any money out of it to pay family bills, does not take any other income and add to it, and keeps it separate from their marriage, it would be an exempt asset in the Superior Court of New Jersey Family Department.

However, if a person receives a sizable liquid inheritance, takes that money, buys real estate with it, and put the deed in both spouses' names, the person has likely co-mingled what would have otherwise been an exempt, inherited asset.

Unequal Distribution and Understanding of Assets

Divorce lawyers understand that there are occasions that there could be an unequal distribution of assets. Probably the most common example is when one party is designated disabled by the Federal Government Social Security Disability. In a case like that, divorce law in New Jersey would allow a disabled person to perhaps be awarded a greater percentage of the assets than the typical 50-50 split to each spouse.

Therefore, that litigant would lose their exemption status with respect to their inheritance, because they comingled these funds into the marital estate.

Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are quite common in East Brunswick high net worth divorce cases. Often, celebrities have prenuptial agreements drawn out before they get married. However, that does not necessarily end the case right there.

The prenuptial agreement can provide a strong foundation, but in certain circumstances, the other spouse may be able to receive more money than the agreement calls for.

Value of a Couple’s Primary Residence

If both parties insist that they want to keep the house in an East Brunswick high net worth divorce case, it is likely that the house will be sold and the proceeds split 50/50 between them. If one spouse desires to keep the house, the question becomes, can they afford to refinance and buy out their spouse.

By way of example, the parties may own a house worth $500,000 with no mortgage. If the wife wanted to buy out the husband, she would have to obtain a mortgage and give $250,000 to her soon to be ex-husband, and in exchange, her husband signs a Quit Claim Deed.

Of course, if the house had a $250,000 mortgage, depending on the facts of the case, if there is an issue as to whether or not one spouse can afford this monthly bill, they may have to sell their house because neither of them can afford to own it on their own.

In some instances, there is an alimony buyout. If the higher wage earner has great alimony exposure and the primary asset was a beautiful home with no mortgage, they may negotiate with the spouse for them to keep the house as a quid quo pro for them not having to ever pay any alimony.

A Judge in New Jersey could not order alimony or an alimony buyout in East Brunswick high net worth divorce cases, however, the attorneys can be quite creative in divorce settlements.

Residing in More than One Home

In any case involving real estate, and assuming all real estate is jointly owned by both spouses, a court certified appraisal company will be retained to assess the value.

If the properties are located in different states, a court certified appraisal company will be contacted in each state to assess the property value. The tax documents are usually too low and a real estate agent is usually too high.

Role of Mediation, Arbitration and Litigation

Many high net worth divorces are resolved in mediation or arbitration. The most obvious reason, especially in the case of celebrities, is that they desire to keep matters private. They do not want the gossip columns or TMZ to be discussing their private affairs publicly as it could affect their careers as celebrities. This also is true in cases where the people are high net worth, well known in their industries, and do not want the more personal details of their life to come out.

A great example would be a case from a few years ago where the business was valued at $300 million in international business. In that case, the company was hopeful to have an IPO on Wall Street in the near future. However, in that case it was the husband's business and he was only one partner of the business. Everything had to be extra-confidential, which is a reason to go to mediation or arbitration, because everything stays private. They did not want news getting out as they were about to have this big initial public offering. Those would be the major reasons to seek East Brunswick high net worth mediation or arbitration. and it is common to do so.