High-Net-Worth Divorce

By Michael DiFalco

Handling a high-net-worth divorce in New York requires experience and a solid understanding of complex financial issues. Ascertaining the value and relevant contributions to multiple properties, investments, business interests, and numerous accounts can complicate the distribution of marital assets. Tracing separate property, protecting inheritances, and locating all of the assets often requires incredible attention to detail. The best way to protect your property rights is to work with an experienced high-net-worth divorce attorney.

At Aiello & DiFalco LLP, we regularly guide clients in Nassau and Suffolk counties, Westchester, and New York City through high-net-worth divorces. When you meet with us, we will take the time to understand your circumstances, explain your rights and obligations, and guide you through the process. While going through the process, we will due our due diligence by obtaining records from your spouse, serving subpoenas on banks and financial institutions, or otherwise taking steps to track and trace all of the assets.

What is High-Net-Worth Divorce?

A “high-net-worth” or “high-asset” divorce typically involves substantial assets valued at more than $1 million, in addition to the couple’s primary residence. The stakes are higher when dealing with millions of dollars in assets, so it is vital to work with attorneys who have handled matters involving 8-figure and 9-figure net worths.

A high-net-worth divorce may involve complex property and assets, such as:

  • Real estate, including multiple homes or vacation properties
  • Business interests 
  • Investment portfolios
  • Real estate investments
  • Private equity placements
  • Retirement accounts
  • Deferred compensation
  • Stock options
  • Trusts
  • Cryptocurrency and alternative assets
  • Luxury vehicles
  • Valuable artwork, jewelry

Under New York’s rules of equitable distribution, marital property must be divided in a way that is fair and equitable. However, this does not always mean an equal 50/50 split, especially with regard to certain types of assets. Also, property that either party acquired before the marriage or that was acquired by gift or inheritance is considered separate property, not subject to division. Tracing separate property, particularly from inheritances, family business interests, or other complicated scenarios, can ensure that you are protecting millions of dollars in assets from distribution.

Identifying and locating all of the assets and determining their value in a high-net-worth divorce can be challenging. Dividing the marital property can become even more complicated if one of the parties attempts to conceal, transfer, or undervalue assets, which can damage that party’s credibility before the court. It is essential to work with experienced high-net-worth divorce attorneys.

How Our Firm Can Help

The high-net-worth divorce lawyers at Aiello & DiFalco will thoroughly analyze your marital estate through the discovery process. This includes reviewing financial statements, tax returns, bank statements, business accounts, and other financial records. 

We regularly work with accountants, appraisers, and other experts to determine the value of properties, investments, and collectibles. We work closely with accountants to value business interests, trace separate property, or determine if assets have been concealed or misappropriated. 

Above all, we will work to protect your property rights and negotiate a fair distribution of your marital assets. If an agreement cannot be reached, we will leverage our trial skills to protect your interests in court. With a solid foundation in understanding the complexities of high-net-worth families, we can properly prepare for potential litigation.

Child Support in a High-Net-Worth Divorce

Child support determinations in New York are based on a formula up to the mandatory cap of $163,000. Clearly, in high-net-worth divorce cases, the income usually exceeds that cap. Going above the cap, the courts can consider a number of factors, particularly focused on the child’s needs and lifestyle, to determine how much additional child support should be paid. Understanding how a court may determine child support enables the attorneys at Aiello & DiFalco LLP to negotiate or litigate the issue of child support in such cases.

Alimony (Spousal Maintenance) In A High-Net-Worth Divorce

Determinations about alimony or spousal maintenance in a high-net-worth divorce may depend on several factors:

  • Will the party seeking spousal maintenance receive assets from the property division that provide for their reasonable needs?
  • Is there a significant income disparity between the spouses?
  • Does the couple have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place?

Whether you are the receiving or paying spouse, our experienced high-net-worth divorce attorney will work to negotiate a fair and reasonable spousal maintenance agreement. 

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements for High-Net-Worth Divorces

At Aiello & DiFalco, we often work with business owners, executives, young professionals, and other high-net-worth individuals, to negotiate prenuptial or postnuptial agreements in order to protect their separate property assets. When an individual is coming into marriage with millions of dollars in assets, it is well worth the investment of time, money, and energy in negotiating a prenuptial agreement to protect those assets. Most high-net-worth individuals have planned for many financial situations and a prenuptial agreement is just another planning document that is intended to protect your investments and all of the assets you have worked so hard to accumulate. 

When necessary, we have litigated the validity and enforceability of prenuptial agreements in high-net-worth divorce cases. Obviously, having a prenuptial agreement drafted properly will provide the most certainty in avoiding any litigation, but in cases where our lawyers did not draft the agreement, we have helped guide parties through litigation where the validity, enforceability, or effectuation of the prenuptial agreement may require expert guidance.

Contact Our Experienced Long Island High-Net-Worth Divorce Attorney Today

If you are involved in a high-net-worth divorce, you deserve the focused, dedicated and personalized representation we provide. We understand that divorce is never easy and high asset divorces require careful consideration, discretion, and expertise. Reach out to our office today.

Aiello & DiFalco LLP helps clients with high-net-worth divorces in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Westchester, and New York City

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.