woman taking off her wedding ring

Navigating a High Net Worth Divorce in New York

By Michael DiFalco

Navigating the divorce process in New York can be a daunting experience for any couple, whether as the party with more of the finances concerned about dividing their assets or as the party who is anxious about making sure they get what they are entitled to receive. The complexities of court appearances, financial documentation, discovery, the valuation and appraisal of assets, and disputes over child custody only serve to exacerbate the situation. High net worth divorces, with their considerable assets and intricate financial affairs, present even greater challenges. At Aiello & DiFalco, we recognize the distinct nuances of high net worth divorces and are dedicated to delivering outstanding legal services to safeguard your interests.

What Is a High Net Worth Divorce?

A high net worth divorce is a legal separation where one or both parties have significant assets, income, and investments. These cases often involve complex financial and legal issues, requiring extensive knowledge and experience to navigate effectively. The stakes are high in these situations, as the division of assets can have a significant impact on both parties’ financial futures. We frequently work with marital estates with assets in excess of several million dollars and understanding how to properly locate and distribute such assets requires an attorney experienced in complex financial matters. 

What Assets Are Considered in a High Net Worth Divorce?

In a high net worth divorce, the court will consider various types of assets and financial resources. Some common examples include:

  • Real estate: This includes primary residences, vacation homes, rental properties, and other real estate holdings, such as apartment buildings, commercial real estate or other investment properties.
  • Business interests: Ownership stakes in businesses, partnership interests, and professional practices are subject to division during the divorce process and understanding the way businesses are evaluated is a necessity.
  • Investments: Stock portfolios, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment accounts can be divided between the parties.
  • Retirement accounts: Pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement plans are considered marital assets and are subject to division.
  • Personal property: Valuable items such as art, collectibles, jewelry, and vehicles may also be divided during the divorce process.
  • Trusts and inheritances: Trust assets and inheritances received during the marriage often need to be traced to protect their potential separate property character or may be subject to further evaluation for purposes of support and other aspects of the divorce, including trusts set up by one or both parties during the marriage for estate planning purposes or other reasons, such as special needs trusts.

How Can I Protect My Assets?

Protecting your assets during a high net worth divorce requires careful planning and skilled legal representation. Here are some steps you can take to safeguard your financial interests:

  • Obtain an accurate valuation of assets: A crucial aspect of a high net worth divorce is determining the accurate value of all marital assets. This may require the assistance of financial experts, such as forensic accountants or appraisers, to ensure a fair division of property.
  • Keep detailed financial records: Maintaining comprehensive documentation of your assets, income, and expenses can help protect your interests during the divorce process.
  • Consider a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement: These legally binding contracts can establish how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce, providing both parties with a clear understanding of their financial rights and obligations.
  • Hire experienced legal counsel: Retaining a knowledgeable and skilled family law attorney is essential to navigating the complexities of a high net worth divorce and protecting your assets.

Contact Aiello & DiFalco for a Consultation

If you are facing a high net worth divorce in New York, the experienced attorneys at Aiello & DiFalco are here to help. We understand the unique challenges of these cases and will work diligently to protect your financial interests and achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your specific situation and learn how our team can assist you during this difficult time.

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.