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Dividing Property in a High Net Worth Divorce

Property division can be a contentious issue in any divorce, and more so when there are substantial assets involved. High net worth divorce cases typically involve millions of dollars in property, and there can be unique issues and challenges when it comes to dividing it. With so much at stake, these divorces can be lengthy and complex.

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that a divorcing couple’s assets are not divided equally, but in a way that the court deems fair. Marital property, which generally is the property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, must be differentiated from separate property, which is not subject to division. Since property can become commingled — particularly during long marriages — it is often necessary to trace the origins of each asset to determine how it should be characterized.

High net worth divorce cases typically involve an intricate portfolio of property that may be subject to division, regardless of which spouse holds legal title. These are examples of assets commonly included:

  • Real estate — Commercial and residential real estate, vacation homes, investment properties, rental properties and overseas real estate
  • Investments — Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, stock options, annuities, commodities and brokerage accounts
  • Retirement accounts — Pension plans, IRAs, 401(k)s and structured employee severance plans
  • Luxury vehicles — Cars, boats, airplanes and other expensive vehicles
  • Artwork and Collectibles — Paintings, sculptures, jewelry, antiques and other valuable commodities
  • Business holdings — One or both spouses’ ownership shares in a closely held or family business

Not only can it be difficult to identify which property is subject to division in a high net worth divorce, but each asset must be properly valued. Often, experts in different fields are retained in these cases to conduct appraisals. Forensic accountants may also be brought in if it is suspected that either spouse is concealing assets.

Tax issues that may affect the division of property and assets must also be considered. For example, a potentially high tax liability upon a sale of a given asset may make it more advisable to keep ownership with one spouse in return for making concessions on other property.

If you are considering divorce and substantial net worth was established during your marriage, it’s essential to have an experienced attorney on your side to ensure your financial interests are protected. Martone Law Group, LLC provides diligent representation in high net worth New Jersey divorce cases throughout Camden, Burlington, Gloucester and Atlantic counties. Call 856-432-4587 or contact us online at our Haddon Heights Office.