Keeping A New York High Net Worth Divorce Cost Effective

Last updated on June 4, 2024

At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, lead attorney Kamelia “Mia” Poppe, Esq., has significant experience handling high net worth divorce cases for clients throughout the New York City metropolitan area, which includes New York County, Kings County, Bronx County, Queens County and Westchester County.

Mia doesn’t believe that divorce should be a seven-figure undertaking, although such price tags are not uncommon in the New York City area. Regardless of the net worth of her clients, she believes that they have worked hard to earn their money and, as such, should not have to spend a significant portion of their wealth obtaining divorce.

Helping High Net Worth Clients

At Poppe & Associates, Mia sees high net worth clients as people who need help, rather than serving as “net gain or net profit amount” cases. She never evaluates new cases based on the anticipated “monetary value” of the case. Instead, she focuses on anticipated outcomes she can garner for the prospective client. Mia and her team offer creative divorce representation, focusing on preserving clients’ assets and preparing them for prosperous post-divorce futures.

Defining High Net Worth Divorce

The term “high net worth” is an identification used in the financial services industry for a person or family with assets over a specified threshold. Although this number can change depending on the organization you are working with, you are generally considered to have a high net worth if you have over one million dollars in liquid assets.

Liquid assets are defined as “cash on hand” or any other assets that can be quickly converted into cash.

Providing Sophisticated Solutions For High-Asset Divorce

As a family law lawyer with extensive knowledge of asset division, Mia has the experience to assist clients with a broad range of financial issues that arise in high net worth divorces. Mia, now the firm’s managing partner, was previously a senior-level manager in the financial sector of the business world. She understands the nuances found in statements of net worth, balance sheets, profit and loss statements and business valuations.

Mia and her team collaborate with professionals, including forensic accountants, divorce coaches, trust and estate attorneys, divorce financial planners, private investigators, child therapists and general practice therapists. As needed, she refers high net worth clients to the firm’s trusted network of professionals, such as tax advisors. Additionally, she and her team work with private investigators who are experienced in locating and identifying assets that are out of the country.

The Primary Goals In A High Net Worth Divorce

In high-asset, high net worth divorces, it is critical that issues involving property distribution, equitable distribution and maintenance be handled with attention to detail coupled with deep financial acumen. There are several critical goals of high net worth divorces, including:

  • Children’s well-being: The health and well-being (physical, mental and emotional) of children should always be a top priority. 
  • Distribution of assets: Determining how assets will be distributed is one of the most contentious parts of high net worth divorce cases. Equitable distribution is the goal of the courts, but the intricacies of determining what assets are allocated to whom are extremely complicated.
  • Spousal support: Spousal support or maintenance is often paid to the nonbreadwinning spouse to help them maintain their lifestyle and to give them time to develop job skills that would allow them to support themselves. This is a complicated and partially subjective process, as there are no laws to dictate court decisions.

Your perspective will depend on whether you have been the breadwinner or the nonbreadwinner spouse. Many variables determine what objectives you find negotiable and what you aren’t willing to budge on. High net worth is a fluid and changing process that necessitates legal expertise in working towards your primary goals.

Evaluating Assets: Don’t Let Valuable Marital Assets Go Unaccounted For

Mia’s team at the firm addresses the full spectrum of issues that arise in high net worth divorces, including the evaluation and division of assets such as:

  • Retirement assets (pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs)
  • Real estate holdings
  • Valuation and division of business assets
  • International assets
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Household goods
  • Vehicles
  • Jewelry
  • Corporate assets and entities
  • Preparation of statements of net worth
  • Forensic accounting and lifestyle analysis

Mia has significant experience handling high net worth divorces for clients in New York County, Kings County, Bronx County, Queens County and Westchester County.

The firm also utilizes a comprehensive worksheet to take inventory of your assets. A quality inventory will help your attorney ensure that your divorce is as equitable as possible.

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About High Net Worth Divorce

As an equitable distribution state, the primary goal of New York courts is to divide marital property fairly between spouses. Our experienced high-asset divorce attorney can speak to your specific property concerns. In the meantime, answers to these common questions may give you some clarity.

How much does a high net worth divorce cost?

The cost of a high net worth divorce, like most things, depends on many variables. There is the actual monetary cost of the divorce proceedings, the cost to your net worth after the divorce is completed and the emotional cost.

The monetary cost of your divorce will depend on its complexity. The more complex the divorce (think spousal support, asset valuation, custody and taxes), the more it’s going to cost because the more professionals will need to be involved, the more time those individuals will need to spend on your case. 

The cost of divorce on your net worth will be higher than the actual cost of the divorce. In many cases, you’ll be splitting the value of your assets in half. This is the true cost of your divorce. Barring any nuptial agreement, you’ll be leaving with much less than what you had while married.

Finally, the emotional cost of divorce for both spouses is always high. Ceasing a relationship is never easy and becomes harder and harder with every added variable. Frequently, there is publicity involved in high net worth divorces, which only exacerbates the emotional costs.

What if I have a prenuptial agreement? Will that impact my divorce?

Prenuptial agreements are common in most divorces. The importance of a prenup increases as assets increase. Individuals want to protect their assets, and there’s no way to argue with the fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce. But know this: all pre- and postnuptial agreements are different and are enforceable to different degrees. 

New York has strict laws about the parameters and economic impact of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in cases of divorce. 

If you signed a prenuptial agreement at the bequest of your spouse, you should always contact an attorney to help you evaluate its validity and navigate your divorce.

What does a high net worth divorce mean for businesses and investments?

Investment portfolios and businesses are considered marital property when acquired during marriage. Even if they were created prior to marriage, any contributions made after the marriage began out of marital funds are generally considered part of the marital estate.

That means investments, 401(k) plans, retirement accounts, businesses and other assets may or may not be divided under equitable distribution rules. In using these rules, the courts will aim for fairness rather than equality or a 50/50 split. Courts consider many different factors, such as the marriage’s duration, spousal contributions, tax consequences and each spouse’s future earning potential, when businesses and investments are divided.

How do valuable assets impact child support and alimony payments?

Typically, family courts make child support and spousal support determinations based on the income and expenses of spouses and the needs and best interests of children.

However, in a high net worth divorce, judges may award higher or lower child support and alimony amounts than typical, depending on the situation and the standard of living established during marriage.

What if I think my spouse is hiding assets in our divorce?

Partners often attempt to hide assets during the divorce process. This tactic becomes more common when more assets exist in a marriage. However, these assets can and will be uncovered with time.

Hidden assets are discovered through discovery interrogatories and through documents provided by financial institutions. Forensic accountants will meticulously scrape your financials to find any discrepancies or signs of hidden assets. We then follow those leads wherever they take us.

Will I need a financial adviser or forensic accountant as well as a high-asset divorce attorney?

Involving financial professionals in high net worth divorces can be extremely beneficial. They work with high-asset divorce attorneys to help spouses manage immediate economic challenges and plan a secure financial future.

Our in-house certified divorce financial analyst can answer specific questions and give you dedicated support throughout your divorce.

Since accurate information can be the key to navigating an uncertain financial future, the high-asset divorce attorney at Poppe & Associates is always ready to help you find the answers you need.

Providing Legal Guidance For High-Profile Divorce

Oftentimes, high net worth divorce cases have the potential to be high-profile divorces as well. Marriage, divorce and family life should be private matters, right? In theory, most people may believe so. In practice, however, the public eye can be very unforgiving. If you are a public figure and divorce is approaching, it is important that you understand your unique position and priorities.

Special Considerations In A High-Profile Divorce

Discreet and sensitive representation can be critical in many different scenarios. Mia has represented clients in the following high-profile circumstances, where one spouse or the other was a:

  • A corporate executive
  • An elected official
  • A major league or otherwise top-notch athlete
  • A prominent television personality
  • A member of the clergy
  • A leading medical professional

Frequently, a high-profile divorce case also involves wealth and assets that require protection from publicity. Similarly, child custody scenarios do not need to be public information for the sake of your family’s privacy. Mia has an extensive background and a strong track record in divorce and child custody litigation, which have taken unique considerations into account.

Schedule A Complimentary Consult With A High-Asset Divorce Lawyer

Contact Poppe & Associates through a simple online inquiry form or by telephone at 646-665-3903 to arrange a free initial consultation with a New York City attorney experienced in high net worth and high-profile divorces.

You have rights in a high net worth divorce, and an experienced and thorough divorce attorney will help protect your interests. In addition, you, your children and your family deserve privacy.