Parkersburg, WV High Asset Divorce Attorneys
Even in the smoothest of cases, divorce is a difficult process—and that’s when both parties agree to the terms of the divorce and harbor minimal animosity towards each other. When you look at divorces involving couples with substantial assets, it’s rarely the best-case scenario. No one wants to experience a significant downgrade in their quality of life as a result of their divorce, so high-asset divorces are often drawn out, complex, and painful for everyone involved.
If you’re involved in a high-asset divorce, you need a Parkersburg divorce attorney with experience handling these types of cases. The right attorney will understand the nuances of asset division when there are lots of assets at stake, alimony or spousal support, and the best interests of the couple’s children.
That’s where we can help. The team at Pence Law Firm PLLC has helped many individuals navigate their complex high-net-worth divorces. To find out how we can help you—call us at 304-407-7852 to get started.
Division of Debts and Assets
When a couple has amassed substantial assets during their time together, the division of assets is often one of the most difficult and time-consuming aspects of their divorce. Like many other states, West Virginia is an equitable distribution state. It isn’t guaranteed that each spouse is entitled to half of the marital estate—instead, the court divides assets in a way that is considered fair.
To achieve this goal, the court uses a number of factors, including but not limited to:
- Each party’s health
- Each party’s financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage
- Sacrifices made by either spouse
- Each party’s ability to earn a living
- Other assets owned by either spouse
Plan on spending a considerable amount of time on the division of assets. Why? A couple that marries, never attains any valuable assets, and divorces has nothing to lose or gain when leaving the marriage—so it’s easy to just go your own way. But when there are significant assets at stake, you can expect both parties to fight a little harder. Some of the issues that may arise include:
- Cataloging and appraising assets: The more diverse your assets are, the more challenging it may be to account for all of them and get a fair valuation for them. However, you really can’t rush this; doing so could mean leaving a substantial amount of money on the table. Assets to consider include real estate, retirement accounts, business shares, rental properties, investments, cash on hand, expensive items, and digital assets.
- Distinguishing separate property: In West Virginia, separate property is not divided in a divorce. But if either party has a lot of separate property, you may see some efforts from the other party to have it classified as marital property. If you do have separate property, plan on proving that you have in fact kept it separate throughout the course of your marriage.
- Business interests: Many high-asset marriages involve ownership of at least one business. These fights can get messy, especially if both parties want to maintain ownership of the business. Additionally, there may be disputes over the actual value of the business and the work put in by both parties.
- Unusual assets: High net-worth couples are more likely to have unusual assets, which are often far harder to split up than more conventional assets. Antiques, niche collectible items, intellectual property, and digital currency all must be fairly divided. These types of assets generally require an expert valuation, which takes additional time and money.
- Tax implications of divided property: Splitting up certain assets can lead to tax consequences for one or both parties. Before agreeing to anything, discuss the tax implications of any proposed agreement with your attorney.
Alimony in High Asset Divorces
Spousal support is more likely to be awarded in high-asset divorces than in other types of divorces, as it’s more common for one party to earn a high income while the other earns less or stays at home. A number of factors go into whether or not spousal support is awarded and, if so, how much is awarded. Relevant factors include:
- Standard of living and lifestyle expenses
- Both parties’ income sources
- Ability of both parties to earn a living
- The length of the marriage
- Sacrifices made by both parties
Alimony takes several forms in West Virginia. Temporary spousal support is awarded while a divorce is in progress. Permanent spousal support is awarded only in limited circumstances, generally when one spouse is permanently unable to support themselves due to illness or age. It also requires a long marriage. Spousal support in gross is a fixed amount that is paid out either in a lump sum or in periodic installments.
Determining Child Custody and Support
This is always an emotional topic in divorce. Decisions are made with the best interests of the child in mind, but high-asset divorces present some additional challenges. For example, if one parent works a lot to maintain their lifestyle, it may be better for the child to remain with the parent that has served as their primary caregiver.
High-asset families often put their children in private schools and expensive extracurriculars, expenses that must be accounted for in child support. Additionally, child support in high-net-worth divorces may not follow a fixed formula, due to the unusual financial circumstances.
How Pence Law Firm Can Help
At Pence Law Firm, we realize that divorce may be one of the most challenging things you ever go through. No matter how hard it is, though, you have to prepare for life after divorce. That means advocating for yourself every step of the way, so you have what you need for a fresh start.
You may not always be in an emotional position to advocate for yourself—that’s where we step in. While you focus on adjusting to this next stage of life, we’ll find out what you want from your divorce and handle communication with your ex-spouse’s attorney. This limits confrontation with your ex-spouse and gives you space to heal.
Contact Us Today to Discuss Your Legal Needs
You don’t have to go through a divorce alone. Find out how Pence Law Firm can support you as you move forward. Set up a consultation with our Parkersburg high-asset divorce lawyers now by calling us at 304-407-7852 or sending us a message online.