March 17, 2023

High Net Worth Divorce: What Are the Dos and Don’ts?

Divorce is never easy, especially for those of high net worth. When navigating the complexities of divorce for those with a high net worth in Florida, there are certain dos and don’ts to remember. 

These dos and don’ts cover everything from handling assets to handling communications with your ex-spouse. Knowing the dos and don’ts of high net-worth divorce in Florida can help ensure the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible. 

What Is a High Net-Worth Divorce in Florida? 

A high-net-worth divorce in Florida is a divorce where one or both parties have a high net worth. This generally means that the total combined assets of both parties exceed $1 million. Divorces involving high net worth can be much more complex than a typical divorce, and they require an experienced attorney to ensure that both parties’ interests are protected throughout the process.

In a high net-worth divorce, many more assets must be considered when dividing property. This includes everything from stocks and bonds to real estate investments and vacation homes. In addition to property division, there are spousal support issues, tax implications, and child support.

The process of a high net-worth divorce in Florida begins with filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. The petition outlines the grounds for the divorce and any requests for financial support or other matters. 

Both parties must then submit financial affidavits and sworn statements about their income, assets, and debts. Once these documents are filed, the parties can negotiate a settlement agreement. If the parties cannot agree, the matter may proceed to trial.

In Florida, the court will divide the assets and debts of the parties based on the equitable distribution standard. This means that the court will consider the contribution of each party to the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the economic circumstances of both parties. The court will also consider the earning capacity of each party and any contributions of either party to the other’s assets.

Dos and Don’ts of a High Net-Worth Florida Divorce 

If you are a high-net-worth individual living in Florida and considering divorce, there are a few things you should be aware of. Divorces involving high-net-worth individuals can involve complex financial and legal issues, and you must understand the process and the potential outcomes. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

Do:

  • Obtain Legal Representation – You must obtain legal representation from a qualified attorney with experience dealing with high-net-worth divorce cases. Your attorney can advise you on your rights and responsibilities throughout the process, and they will be able to help you protect your assets and interests.
  • Gather Documentation – Make sure you have all the necessary documentation for your finances and assets. This includes bank statements, tax returns, real estate deeds, and other financial documents.
  • Collect Valuable Items – If you have valuable items, such as artwork or jewelry, collect them so they can be divided in the divorce.
  • Prepare for Negotiations – If you and your spouse can reach a settlement agreement, you must be prepared to negotiate. Your attorney can help guide you through this process and ensure your interests and rights are protected.

Don’t:

  • Sign Anything Without Consulting an Attorney – Do not sign any documents or agreements before consulting with your attorney. You must understand the implications of anything you sign, and your attorney can help you make sure that you are making the right decisions.
  • Hide Assets – Do not hide any assets or attempt to manipulate your financial situation to gain an advantage in the divorce. Doing so could result in legal consequences, and all assets must be accurately accounted for during the process.
  • Neglect Your Finances – Ensure you are keeping track of your financial situation and taking steps to protect your assets. This includes making sure that you are making payments on loans, keeping up with taxes, and monitoring your credit score.
  • Ignore Legal Deadlines – Ensure you are aware of any legal deadlines that must be met throughout the process. Your attorney can help you stay on track and ensure you meet all the requirements.

Conclusion 

By understanding the dos and don’ts of high-net-worth divorce in Florida, you can ensure that the process is handled properly and that your interests and rights are protected. High-net-worth divorces in Florida can be complex and time-consuming. 

However, with the help of an experienced attorney, the process can be made much easier. An attorney can help both parties understand their rights under the law and ensure that each party’s interests are protected throughout the process.

Dorsey Law JAX is one of the top attorneys specializing in family law, criminal law, and personal injury. Contact us to speak with a divorce lawyer!

March 9, 2023

Ways to Keep Your Inherited Assets during a Divorce – Part 1

Some couples persevere through the challenging phases of marriage and come out the other side wanting to share everything. It’s unlikely that any of these couples will ever have to worry about protecting their individual inheritances from one another. Yet, partners whose marriages look like they’re on the verge of dissolving may see things very differently. When a divorce becomes imminent, it can be too late to protect inheritances from a spouse, even if the inheritance was never meant for anybody except the receiver.

Community property states and equitable distribution states have different rules governing how marital assets are divided and who keeps what. Like the vast majority of the United States, Florida follows the principles of “equitable distribution.” During a divorce, assets in a community property state are divided equally, but in an equitable distribution state, they are divided fairly.

But it might be hard to figure out what’s fair in a tense divorce. A judge will decide how to divide their property evenly depending on a number of variables if the couple can’t agree on a settlement. That said, Florida law distinguishes between marital property and independent property, such as an inheritance.

Unless otherwise agreed upon by both parties, all money and possessions earned or obtained by either spouse during the marriage are considered marital property. To further clarify, anything you have acquired during your marriage is considered marital property, including any income you made, any vehicles purchased with funds from your joint bank account, any properties purchased, and any retirement funds to which either of you contributed. Possessions that are kept apart from one another include:

  • Personal injury awards often include components that are treated as separate property. Awards for pain and suffering are regarded as distinct property, whereas any component that reimburses you for lost wages is deemed marital property.
  • Any property purchased by one spouse with funds from the other’s separate assets is deemed the owner’s separate property.
  • All property designated as separate in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is treated as such.
  • All inheritances obtained either before or after the marriage are regarded as distinct property until they are combined with other assets during the marriage.
  • Any property obtained in one spouse’s name during the marriage, purchased with inherited money, and never utilized for the other spouse’s benefit or titled in the other spouse’s name would most likely be regarded as separate property.
  • Property acquired by one spouse as a gift either before or during the marriage but never transferred to the other spouse’s name is termed distinct property.
  • Separate property that includes any assets that were owned by either spouse before the marriage but have remained in the sole names of their respective owners throughout the marriage.

To What Extent Can an Inheritance Be Shared between Spouses?

Although it might seem obvious that any gifts or inheritances received before or during the marriage would remain solely in the original recipient’s possession, this is not always the case after a divorce. Let’s say your Aunt Jane bequeathed you a beach house in California. You and your spouse not only make frequent use of the house for holidays during your marriage, but you also make improvements to the house using money from the marriage’s joint finances. The court presiding over your divorce may decide that the beach house is community property because both of you spent time there and money from the marriage on improvements.

Due to the mixing of funds throughout the marriage, the beach house may now be considered community property as well as distinct. It’s possible that this means you get three-quarters of the house, and your partner gets a quarter. That is to say, if the couple had spent money from the marital estate improving the beach house, the non-inheriting partner would be entitled to some of those improvements.

Conclusion

There are several ways to keep inherited assets during a divorce. The most important thing is to be proactive and plan ahead. Talk to an attorney about your specific situation and what steps you can take to protect your assets. Be honest with your spouse about your assets and devise a plan that works for both of you. If you cannot come to an agreement, the court may decide for you.

If you are looking for well-trusted and experienced attorneys specializing in Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in Jacksonville, FL, look no further than our experts at The Dorsey Law Firm. We are the top Jacksonville attorneys, and we offer our services in cases related to family law, criminal law, and personal injury. Contact us today, and let us handle your legal concerns for you.

March 9, 2023

How Are Assets and Debts Divided in a Florida Divorce?

Divorce is rarely easy and can involve complicated issues like asset and debt division. In the state of Florida, both marital and non-marital property and debts are subject to division during a divorce. Being aware of the laws and understanding the process in Florida can help ease the burden of a divorce and ensure the outcome is fair and equitable.

Understanding Florida’s Divorce Laws

Florida is an “equitable distribution state,” meaning that the court will divide marital assets and liabilities in a way it deems fair, considering factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial needs, and other relevant circumstances. Non-marital assets, defined as assets acquired before the wedding, assets acquired by one spouse as a gift or inheritance, or assets assigned to one spouse in a settlement agreement, are not affected by the equitable distribution process.

Dividing Marital Assets

In Florida, marital assets include any real estate, vehicles, retirement and investment accounts, bank accounts, small businesses, household furnishings, and pets owned during the marriage. These assets will be considered when determining how the assets should be divided.

It is important to note that the division of marital assets is not necessarily a 50/50 split. The court will consider various factors in determining how the assets should be divided, and the division may not be equal.

When it comes to dividing assets, the courts will look at the circumstances of each individual case. They will consider factors such as the length of the marriage, each party’s economic circumstances, and evidence of financial misconduct. For example, if one spouse has dissipated assets during the marriage, this will be considered when determining how the assets should be divided.

Dividing Marital Debts

In the same way marital assets must be divided, marital debts must also be divided between the divorcing spouses. This includes debts such as mortgages, car loans, joint credit cards, student loans, medical bills, and other loans.

Dividing debts can be more complicated than dividing assets, as it is sometimes difficult for the court to determine which spouse is liable for a particular debt. As with assets, the court will consider factors such as the length of the marriage when deciding how to divide the debts.

Compliance with Final Judgments

Once the court has issued its ruling and the spouses have accepted the division of assets and debts, both parties must comply with the ruling. Non-compliance can result in civil or criminal penalties. The only exception is if either spouse requests a modification of the verdict due to a change in circumstances.

Conclusion

Divorce proceedings can be a challenging, stressful experience. Understanding the laws and processes in Florida can help both spouses keep the process manageable, ensuring a fair and equitable outcome. With the right knowledge and guidance, a Florida divorce can see both spouses move forward in a positive direction.

To learn more about family law in Florida, talk to us at Dorsey Law JAX. We provide experienced, compassionate legal advice to individuals and families throughout the Jacksonville area. Contact us today.

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