How Are Marital Assets And Debts Divided In A High Asset Divorce Case If You’re Going Through A Mediation Process? How Are Marital Assets And Debts Divided If One Or Both Spouses Decline Mediation?
Marital assets in a divorce are divided equitably. Equitably means fairly. Fairly is in the eye of the beholder. If the beholder is a judge, and the judge is making decisions for you, then it’s based upon testimony and evidence produced at a trial. The judge would inquire: How was the asset acquired? What were each of the spouse’s contributions to making that asset part of the marital estate? If the asset was acquired outside of the marriage, such as an inheritance or an award from a personal injury, that starts off as separate property. But if the money is deposited into a joint account, and money goes in and out of that account in the regular course of marriage, that asset has now trans-mutated. In other words, it has become a joint asset subject to equitable distribution.
In high net worth couples, the law is exactly the same as it would be for low net worth couples. Equitable means fair. Through the mediation process, a couple determines what is fair with some guidance and education from the mediator. An experienced skilled mediator is going to educate the couple as to what the law is, and, if asked, give an accurate prediction of the likely outcome of failure or success given any specific issue. Since the law of equitable distribution is extensively written and consumes a large volume of written material, the black letter law is usually fairly simple in about 90% of the cases. It is important to remember that the state of New York is a very strong divorce state, which means that there is no interpretation as to whether or not a piece of property is marital. Compare that to some states like in California where community property is the law, or palimony, nothing like that exists in New York State.
The New York Stock Exchange was created back in the 1800s, which amassed huge amounts of wealth for many New York residents, and New York City continues to be the financial capital of the world. Therefore, the laws that have been set up in New York State are far more detailed and codified than those of Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Florida. These laws are reflective of wherever the wealth is and has been generated. In New York, the divorce laws are exact, codified, and usually very predictable.
If you can’t figure it out by sitting with an experienced skilled mediator and a calculator, then you need a judge to do it for you. If you hire my team to do the litigation, I will always try to get your case settled early.
In A High Net Worth Case, What Does New York Use To Determine What Is In The Best Interest Of The Children? How Is Custody Arranged? What Unique Situations Might High Net Worth Individuals Face In A Divorce Case When It Comes To Custody Matters?
The Supreme Court of the United States was once tasked with determining the definition of pornography. The presiding justice, “I don’t know what the definition is, but I will know it when I see it.” That same concept applies to custody and the best interest of the children. What is going to be the best thing for these children objectively? No one can tell you what to do with your children, correct? Wrong. Child protective services, through the Family Court can remove your children from you in the middle of the night and put them into foster care. CPS has the authority to order hearings to revoke parental rights and impose supervised visitation if the suspicion and the evidence shows child abuse or neglect. Most of the time, of course, that is an absurdity……………. except when it is not.
In those cases, the Family Court plays an essential, critical, vital, and very useful role in handling the minority of cases that fall into that category. However, most parents can figure out what to do with their children, and the involvement of CPS or Family Court is avoided.
High net worth cases and low net worth cases have the same issues, but sometimes, they are resolved differently. With high net worth couples, the couple can likely afford two residences. You can afford to do things for and with the children that couples of modest means cannot. Many couples of modest means end up living in the same household, albeit separate lives, until the youngest graduates from high school. They then sell the house and move on with their lives. They are held captive and forced to live unhappy lives simply because of the economics.
Couples with modest incomes cannot normally afford to maintain two separate households. Through our mediation center, we have successfully mediated hundreds of couples who have continued to reside in the same residence. They have either been legally separated with a judgment of separation or divorced with a judgment of divorce. The future is defined for them. They know exactly when the house is going to be sold and how the assets will get distributed because they have agreed to it on paper, and we have it Ordered by the Supreme Court. They just cannot afford to physically separate at the time. It may sound silly, but living on Long Island is very expensive. You want to make sure that the best interests of the children are being provided for, which means they are eating, sleeping, and bathing. Those essentials are universal to everyone. However, only a small percentage of families can afford to keep the children in the same lifestyle that they had pre-divorce. However, the best interests of the children should be a rather objective criterion. Just ask yourself, take your ego away, be selfless, not selfish, and ask, “What is in the best interest of my children?” Then, do it.
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