HIGH ASSET DIVORCES
Representation from Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC
In high net worth San Diego divorce cases, matters involving the ownership of a business, and situations where one party may have a substantial separate property estate, there are frequently complex property division issues.
In its simplest terms, California community property law presumes property acquired during marriage is community property, to be divided equally between the two spouses at dissolution of marriage. However, if one party contributes funds from a separate property source towards the acquisition of an asset, even if this asset was acquired during marriage, the contributing party can and should make a claim for preservation of this separate property interest.
The right to be reimbursed for separate property may depend upon the party contributing these assets being able to “trace” the separate property funds used. This tracing process can require an analysis of source documents and possibly the engagement of a CPA or other expert to confirm the separate property claim.
Dividing Business Assets in San Diego County
Even when a business existed prior to marriage, California case law frequently provides the community has a proportionate interest in this premarital business. When the issue of community versus separate character of a business arises during a dissolution process, expert witnesses are generally required to provide appraisals at various dates. In addition, a detailed analysis may be required, including the amount of community effort devoted by either spouse to the operation of business, the reasonable compensation for any services rendered, and a return on the separate property investment that existed on the date of marriage.
In high net worth cases, parties may own custom residential real estate or commercial real estate. These assets require sophisticated appraisals to produce a reasonable opinion of value. Airplanes, boats, classic cars and valuable artwork may require specialized appraisals.
Dividing Investment Assets in Divorce
Investment assets are common in high net worth cases. These investment assets may include limited partnerships and other business entities controlled by third parties. It is essential an analysis be performed, not just as to the value, but also as to possible methods of division of these types of investment assets. For example, there may be contractual provisions prohibiting a division of certain LLC or LLP assets in-kind (i.e., one-half of each item to each party). There may be restrictions preventing or limiting the sale of assets.
Help for the Discovery Process
Frequently, formal or informal discovery is needed in complex property division cases, to obtain the source documents necessary to complete a thorough evaluation of a particular asset. California law permits discovery not only on the other party, but also other witnesses who may have information pertinent to the case. In representing the party with lesser knowledge, the Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC has developed standard procedures to obtain the necessary information.
In representing the party with greater knowledge, our firm has the necessary knowledge and experience to advise the client as to the requirements for disclosure of information. Since 1993, California law has mandatory disclosure requirements. Our firm is experienced in completing these requirements and compelling compliance of the other party to disclose. In a complex property division case, disclosure of information is essential to either settle or litigate the matter.
Choose an Experienced High Asset Divorce Attorney
The Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC has decades of experience in representing high net worth individuals. A significant proportion of our family law cases involve the analysis and/or division of potential community property business interests. Attorney Beatrice L. Snider has been involved in the San Diego community, as well as statewide, in suggesting models and procedures for the division of business assets.
Contact the firm to retain dedicated and knowledgeable representation for your high-asset divorce.