Aretsky Law Group has successfully represented several high-net-worth individuals, including Wall-Street executives; corporate business executives; business owners; doctors, lawyers, and other professionals; and their spouses.
High-net-worth divorces are by their very nature very complex. Although each case is unique, most involve one or more of the following in addition to income and investments:
- Prenuptial Agreement
- Real-estate Holdings
- Businesses, Partnerships, and/or Professional Practices
- Stock Options
- Retirement Assets
- Complicated Taxation Considerations
Many individuals with a high net worth ask their future spouse (or partner in a civil union) to sign a prenuptial agreement, often called a “prenup.” The most commonly heard reason for wanting this legal agreement is to be certain that one’s premarital assets are not included in equitable distribution if the couple should divorce. However, other rights and obligations of each party are also stipulated. Also, by clearly presenting all the assets the couple brings to a marriage and establishing liabilities and responsibilities, couples are able to enter into marriage with less anxiety.
If you are about to marry and are in need of a prenuptial agreement, Aretsky Law Group attorneys have a great deal of experience in drafting these documents and would welcome the opportunity to represent your interests. Our attorneys know the legal requirements necessary to draft prenuptial agreements that will be binding in the event that the marriage fails. Often, people entering into a marriage do not have a comprehensive understanding of their partner’s assets and debts.
The state of New Jersey recognizes prenuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements, and domestic-partnership agreements when considering the distribution of assets and awarding alimony. If you or your spouse has filed for divorce or are about to file and want to know what effects your prenuptial agreement will have, our New Jersey divorce attorneys will study the document and analyze whether or not it is enforceable and how it affects your interests.
Equitable Distribution of Assets
In New Jersey assets and debts that either or both spouses obtained during the course of their marriage are considered “marital property.” The law states that distribution of this property must be fair, but not necessarily equal.
In an equitable distribution of assets, all property is considered marital property unless it can be proved that it was owned prior to the marriage or if it was a gift or an inheritance specifically intended for the one party. Businesses owned prior to the marriage are excluded, any increase in the overall value of a business may be subject to distribution from the date of the marriage through the date of the filing of the couple for divorce. Income from the business may be used to determine alimony and child support.
If a case goes to court in New Jersey, the court will follow three basic steps:
- Determine which assets are subject to equitable distribution.
- Determine the value of the marital property subject to equitable distribution.
- Determine the most equitable way to distribute those assets.
Our knowledgeable attorneys understand how to apply New Jersey law regarding marital and non-marital property. They employ forensic accountants when necessary to calculate what portion of an asset is marital and its value.
Real-estate holdings may include vacation homes and investment properties in addition to personal residences. During a divorce, there can be many questions that must be answered and decisions that must be made regarding these assets: What is their value? Should you sell any of them? If not sold, will the party retaining the property have sufficient income to maintain it? Aretsky Law Group attorneys will work with the necessary experts to protect your interests in these holdings.
Businesses, Partnerships, and Professional Practices
Valuations of businesses, partnerships, and professional practices can be complicated matters. They often require experts such as forensic accountants. Our divorce attorneys will work with these experts to protect your interests and to help you and your spouse arrive at a satisfactory plan of action, whether that involves a sale, a buy-out, or another arrangement.
Stock options are often included as part of a high-net-worth individual’s compensation. Our experienced attorneys will help you determine how many options the employee spouse was granted, how many are vested already, and the vesting schedule. After determining what would be an equitable distribution, both parties will have to come to an agreement as to what to do with the options. Our attorneys can discuss future tax ramifications and the possibility for the need of an agreement known as a constructive trust.
In New Jersey pensions, IRAs, 401k’s and other retirement assets that built up during the marriage are considered marital assets and are subject to equitable distribution. Distribution can be done in one of two basic ways. It can be scheduled for a later date when the benefit matures and the exact value is known, or the spouse in whose name the asset is in can keep the benefit while the other spouse retains another asset of the same value.
Complicated Tax Issues
High-net-worth couples who are planning to divorce have important decisions to make regarding the filing of their taxes. For example, child support and alimony have different tax consequences for each party. If your divorce is final as of December 31, you may not file jointly. Depending on the time of year, it may be better to file your income tax jointly and wait until the following calendar year to file for divorce. Our attorneys will work with accountants to help you determine what is in your best interests.
Experienced New Jersey Divorce Lawyers
High-net-worth divorces are complex cases that require the assistance of experienced attorneys with an understanding of the applicable New Jersey laws. Aretsky Law Group attorneys specialize in New Jersey family and matrimonial law and have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the complicated process and to protect your rights and interests along the way. We work with forensic accountants to locate hidden assets, to determine the value of assets, and to manage competitive market evaluations of income for people who are self-employed. We have skillfully handled many divorces involving business evaluations, pension evaluations, deferred executive compensation packages, stocks, real estate, and issues associated with jointly controlled trusts.
The material provided at this website is intended for general informational purposes only. It should not be regarded as legal advice. Consult an attorney for legal advice concerning your particular situation. You are welcome to call Aretsky Law Group, P.C., at 201-580-3411 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys.