California is a community property state. That means that both spouses are entitled to an even split of the union’s assets if there is no prenuptial agreement in place. This community property includes any profits and debts incurred during the marriage, and the resulting division of property should be as equitable and fair as possible.
For example, if your spouse gets to keeps the house, theoretically, you should receive other assets that add up to approximately equal value. In practice, divvying up real estate, complex investments, and business equity can get quite complicated not only because it’s hard to make apples to apples comparisons but also because measuring the true worth of certain assets is fundamentally tricky. For instance, consider a family-owned business that’s survived in a volatile market for four years in a row. Forecasts suggest that the business will continue to be profitable, but what if forecasts change? What will happen to the equity in that business? Questions like these hint at the complications that high net worth couples face when divorcing.
The sheer scale of the estate also creates challenges. It often takes time and energy just to identify, catalogue and evaluate all the various assets, accounts, properties and relevant financial instruments.
To make sense of this puzzle, some couples need the services of professionals known as forensic accountants. These people go through your financial records with a fine-toothed comb to prepare the way for negotiations, clarify concerns, and prevent assets and debt from being overlooked. You may also need to consult with other experts to answer questions regarding real estate, taxes, and financial planning.
Itemizing, negotiating over, and possibly litigating over the marriage’s assets and debts doesn’t occur in a vacuum, either! High net worth couples face the same emotional and psychological challenges as other couples do, and many also need to work through complex custody and time sharing issues. An experienced California family law attorney can help you strategize and ensure a fair outcome. Call our team at 888-228-1098 to schedule a confidential consultation.