High net worth divorces in Virginia often are more complicated than other divorces given the complex property owned by the parties and difficulties obtaining all relevant financial documentation. While high asset divorces are governed by the same Virginia laws that govern other divorces (Code of Va. § 20-91), it is nonetheless important to understand some of the common issues that make high net worth divorces distinctive. To be clear, while couples with high income or substantial assets will still file for divorce with the same fault-based or no-fault options as couples of other income levels, there are some key things you should keep in mind about a high net worth divorce in Virginia.
- Your Lawyer Should Have Experience Handling High Asset Divorce Cases
Although a friend or family member may have various recommendations for lawyers with whom you should work on your case, you need to know that it is extremely important to hire a Virginia divorce attorney who has significant experience handling high net worth divorces. These kinds of divorces often have their own particularities, and there are issues that arise in high asset divorces that do not commonly come up in other types of divorce proceedings. You want to have an advocate on your side who understands the issues in your case and can help you to achieve your desired result.
- Financial Documentation Will Be Extremely Important
You will need to begin gathering originals or copies of financial documentation as soon as possible. In high net worth divorces, financials are often of utmost importance, especially when it comes to the equitable division of marital property. Under Virginia law, all assets and debts will need to be classified either as marital or separate property, and all marital property will be subject to distribution in a manner that the court determines to be equitable to both spouses. If you cannot prove that certain property exists or that it should be classified as marital property, you may not receive a fair share.
- You May Need to Hire an Appraiser
Many high net worth divorces involve complex property that requires specific appraisals. For example, as the Smithsonian Institution explains, if you own high value art of any type, it will be important to hire an appraiser who specializes in the particular type of art and can offer a current fair market value estimate. Even if you had an appraisal done in the last several years, the market can shift significantly, and it will be essential to have an accurate appraisal.
- Forensic Accountants Can Help with Concealed Asset Issues
Whenever there are any concerns about one of the parties trying to hide or conceal assets in a high net worth divorce, or there is a situation where one of the spouses does not have access to financial records, a forensic accountant will likely be an important part of your divorce team. A forensic accountant can locate accounts and investments that a spouse failed to disclose, and can track down relevant financial documentation to ensure that all property is accurately classified so that it can be equitably distributed.
- You Should Be Prepared for a Complex Property Division Case
Many high asset divorces involve complex property, and it can take some time to property value and classify property such as real estate, businesses, investments, and other assets.
Contact a Manassas High Asset Divorce Lawyer
When you are facing a high net worth divorce in Virginia, it is essential to have an experienced Manassas high net worth divorce attorney on your side. One of the dedicated lawyers at our firm can discuss your situation with you today and can begin working on your divorce case. We will advocate for you every step of the way. Contact Dougherty Tobias Iszard, Northern Virginia Law, P.C. to learn more about how our firm can assist you.