When you are planning to file for divorce in Virginia (Code of Va. § 20-91), you need to know that additional complications can arise in a high asset or high net worth divorce. Virginia is an equitable distribution state (Code of Va. § 20-107.3), which means that all property owned by the spouses will be classified as marital or separate property, and all marital property will be divided between the parties in a manner that the court decides is fair based on the circumstances of the parties and their marriage. Equitable distribution applies to high asset divorce cases, but given that property can be particularly valuable in these divorces, it is important to understand how you might deal with some of those common complexities or issues.
Need for an Expert Appraiser
If you have particularly valuable assets that are difficult to value or that have regularly fluctuating market value (such as an art collection, for example), you may need to hire an expert appraiser. As an article in Forbes points out, experts like appraisers can be extremely beneficial in divorces where marital property includes valuable collections. An appraiser can help to determine the market value of collectible objects for which value determinations could otherwise be difficult for the court.
Concerns About Concealed Assets
Concerns about hidden or concealed assets may be more likely to arise in high asset divorces in Virginia. What are hidden assets? In some situations, one of the spouses might attempt to hide marital assets so that they will not be properly classified and divided during the divorce. There are various ways in which assets can be hidden, such as by gifting assets to a friend or family members, providing incorrect information on financial statements or disclosures, or setting up alternate accounts and making deposits.
Enforceability of a Premarital Agreement
Many high asset divorces involve premarital (or prenuptial) agreements. Often, prenuptial agreements specify that certain property will not be eligible for distribution in a divorce, particularly when one of the parties came to the marriage with significant assets that were likely to grow with support from marital assets and attention from both spouses. When a premarital agreement specifies that one of the spouses will not be eligible for a substantial amount of assets that would otherwise be divisible as marital assets, the court will need to determine whether the premarital agreement is enforceable, and whether there is a possibility that all or part of the premarital agreement will not be enforced due to issues like fraud, duress, or unconscionability.
If you have any questions about the enforceability of a premarital agreement in a high net worth divorce, you should seek advice from a Northern Virginia family law attorney.
Dissolving a Business
Whether the spouses own a business together or one of the spouses is a member of a business with assets that will need to be distributed in the divorce, it may be necessary to consider dissolving an existing business. Even if the business is not dissolved, it may be necessary to work with a lawyer to determine how business assets can be identified and distributed in the divorce, and what steps may need to be taken in order to keep the business running once the divorce is finalized.
In some divorce where the spouses own a business together, one of the spouses can buy out the other spouse to keep the business open. Or, in other situations, the spouses may decide to continue working together in a business relationship despite dissolving their marriage. Dividing a business in a divorce can get extremely complicated, and it is critical to seek help from a divorce lawyer.
Contact a Northern Virginia High Asset Divorce Attorney Today
If you are going through a high asset divorce in Virginia, or if you are anticipating that you will soon file for high net worth divorce, one of our experienced Fairfax high asset divorce attorneys can help with your case. While every divorce has its own distinct facts and circumstances, we have years of experience assisting clients with the numerous complexities that often arise in high net worth divorces cases and can speak with you today about your divorce. Contact Dougherty Tobias Iszard, Northern Virginia Law, P.C. for more information about the services we provide in Northern Virginia.