A competent and experienced Family Law attorney is indispensable if you are a high-asset individual facing divorce.
Divorce is tremendously challenging for high-net worth spouses, especially in Georgia where divorce rules may lead to unexpected, troubling outcomes. The more valuable the assets, the higher the stakes are for each spouse, which often means extremely contentious cases. In addition, a high-asset divorce has an extra layer of technical complexity dealing with property laws, financial laws, and taxation.
In Gwinnett County, trust in skilled and experienced attorney Sharon Jackson. In her 15+ years of practice in Family Law, she has effectively protected the interests of her clients and obtained favorable results for them in their complex divorce cases. Call Attorney Sharon Jackson today at (678) 921-3480.
Here are some key issues to consider carefully when high-value assets are on the line during marriage dissolution.
Perhaps the biggest concern in a high-asset divorce is the division of property between the spouses. Unlike some other states, Georgia does not adhere to 50-50 division; instead, it distributes the assets according to what the court thinks is equitable. To determine equitable division, the court looks into various factors including:
Note that only marital property can be divided in divorce. That’s property that, generally, either spouse acquired during the marriage. On the other hand, separate property are assets that each spouse owns and will keep after divorce. Separate property includes assets acquired prior to the marriage, and assets received as gifts or inheritance.
It is possible, however, for separate property to be “transmuted” or changed to marital property. For instance, if one spouse purchased the family home using his or her own money, but had it titled under both spouses’ names, it may be argued that the home is now marital property, regardless of whose money paid for it. Georgia also considers gifts between spouses as marital property, and thus subject to be divided during divorce.
Businesses are highly fought over during divorce. Under Georgia law, a business formed during the marriage is marital property and thus can be divided. But even a business that was started by one person prior to the marriage can be subject to distribution upon divorce.
The Georgia Supreme Court has made it clear that a person’s business “may be subject to equitable division if there is an appreciation in the value of the business during the years of the marriage due to the spouses' individual or joint efforts.” In other words, if the court found that the non-owner spouse contributed to the growth of the company, that spouse may be entitled to some interest in the business.
Georgia law states that alimony is “awarded to either party in accordance with the needs of the party and the ability of the other party to pay.” Hence, the court generally decides that the higher-earning spouse should pay alimony to the lower-earning spouse.
In determining the amount and duration of spousal support, the court weighs more specific factors, namely:
If, after some time, either party experiences a significant change in financial situation, the court allows reassessment and modification of the alimony order. The paying spouse may request the court to reduce the alimony amount they have to pay.
When substantial assets are involved, a divorce becomes a complex, multi-faceted case which must be considered from various angles. It’s no longer just a Family Law case, as there are financial laws, taxation laws, property laws, and many other rules that may apply.
A high-net worth individual likely works with financial experts in managing and protecting their assets. But when it comes to divorce, it is wise to consult with a Family Law attorney to discuss specific concerns such as:
Further, an attorney may be crucial in handling the nuances of divorce negotiations, especially since property conflicts between spouses can get highly technical as well as emotional. Choose a lawyer who has demonstrated a skillful handling of contentious divorce proceedings and an in-depth familiarity with Georgia laws.
Whether you are trying to protect your interests during divorce, or claiming what is rightfully yours, Attorney Sharon Jackson can competently help you. With her strategic legal skills and perceptive handling of complicated family situations, she has obtained ideal results for her divorce clients. Talk to Ms. Jackson about your high-asset divorce. Call today at (678) 921-3480.