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Property Division Considerations in a High-Net-Worth Divorce

Property Division

Divorce is rarely a simple process, but it can become even more complex when the divorcing couple has a high net worth. High-net-worth couples often have financial accounts, property holdings and investments that other couples do not, and which are not easily apportioned under New York’s equitable division system. Below, find several assets and topics that require special attention during the division of property in a high-net-worth divorce, and contact a knowledgeable New York divorce attorney with additional questions you may have.

Valuation of businesses owned by spouses

Like any other property that was purchased or acquired during the marriage, the value of a business that one spouse has started while they were married becomes a marital asset that is subject to equitable division. Even if the business was formed prior to the marriage, the other spouse may be entitled to receive a portion of the value of that business if marital assets were invested in the business, or if the spouse worked for the business during the relationship. It is important to find an experienced and trusted expert to provide a fair valuation of the business. Spouses will also need to find a workable arrangement for how the business’ value should be distributed, which could mean ongoing involvement in the business by a former spouse or sale of the business with equitable distribution of the value.

Stock options and restricted stock

When one spouse earns stock options or restricted stock during the marriage as compensation for work they’ve done in the past, then these options may be considered marital property with the value to be divided between the spouses. Valuing these assets can be difficult when the stock is in a privately-held company, and spouses should retain the help of an experienced financial expert to assess their value.

Real estate investments

Couples who have chosen to make real property investments during their marriage may be forced to decide whether to sell the properties and divide the proceeds, or whether one spouse wishes to buy out the other spouse’s interest and retain the property. If the property was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, the non-property-owning spouse may still have a right to a portion of its value if they contributed to improvements on the property.

Tax consequences

The transfer or sale of assets as part of a divorce could have tax consequences for spouses, whether classified as a capital gains or income tax. These taxes may be avoidable with careful planning and strategic distribution of property.

If you’re considering filing for divorce in New York, get seasoned and experienced help with your high-net-worth divorce by contacting the Hudson Valley family law attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a consultation, at 845-331-4100 in Kingston, or 845-236-4411 at our office in Marlboro.

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