West Palm Beach High-Net-Worth Divorce Lawyer

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Fairway Law Group

No divorce is easy, even if spouses are amicable. There is a lot at stake in a divorce, including how marital assets are divided and the custody and support of children if spouses have them. High-net-worth divorces have additional financial and legal challenges, and they are more likely to become contentious. It is important to have a West Palm Beach high-net-worth divorce lawyer by your side as you navigate a high-asset divorce.

Legal Support in a High-Net-Worth Divorce

Divorces with high-value and complex assets require more time, resources, and legal knowledge to effectively resolve. When one or both spouses have high incomes, it can render the state guidelines for alimony and child support inapplicable and complicate the division of property. With a skilled and hardworking attorney, these divorces can go more smoothly, and clients can have the professional resources they need.

At Fairway Law Group, our attorneys have over 20 years of combined experience. We understand the stress that is common in high-net-worth divorces, and our team can help you navigate disputes with your spouse and find the ideal outcome for a divorce. We know that many couples prefer to resolve these cases privately, so we work to provide effective legal care through methods such as mediation or collaborative divorce. Our family law team brings you and your family the support and compassion you need.

Understanding a High-Net-Worth Divorce in West Palm Beach

A high-net-worth divorce refers to a separation between spouses where one or both spouses have significant, complex, and high-value assets. Often, the combined net worth between spouses is several million. These assets may include:

  • Company ownership
  • Business interests
  • Investment profiles
  • Real estate holdings
  • Retirement accounts
  • Luxury personal property
  • Offshore accounts

The income and resources of these parties likely mean that state guidelines for alimony and child support will not apply.

These divorces are complicated because they take much more time, money, and resources to navigate. Their complex assets must be appraised accurately, categorized as separate or marital, and fairly divided between spouses. Both spouses have a lot of wealth that they may lose, and this can result in negotiations and proceedings being much more contentious and stressful. High-net-worth divorces are also more likely to include hidden assets to alter the outcome of property division.

Because of these numerous challenges, high-net-worth divorces can benefit greatly from effective and experienced legal support. An attorney can help spouses negotiate a separation agreement outside of court, which can often help the process go faster, be less expensive, and remain private.

How Does an Attorney Help Me?

When you bring your high-asset divorce to a qualified attorney, there are several benefits they can bring. First, your attorney can review your unique situation and help you understand the potential legal routes to resolve it, including whether settling in or out of court is more beneficial. For many couples, settling outside of court is ideal, as it is less stressful and less expensive. Your attorney can provide you with the essential knowledge you need to make an informed decision about how to manage your divorce.

No matter how your divorce is handled, your lawyer can take the time to understand your wishes and interests in the divorce, allowing them to advocate for those needs.

Additionally, an attorney with experience in high-asset divorces has the professional connections and resources needed for appraising unusual assets that are more common in high-net-worth divorces. Personal and real property appraisers can accurately value separate and marital property to ensure that the division of marital property is fair.

In a high-asset divorce, it is more common for spouses to hide assets from each other. If you suspect your spouse of hiding assets, your attorney can help you uncover these assets through formal divorce discovery and the use of forensic accountants.

How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in Florida?

A divorce attorney in Florida may cost from $200 to $500 an hour or much higher, depending on several factors. Most attorneys bill on an hourly rate for divorce cases, and they may also require a retainer fee to reserve their legal services. Every attorney will charge differently, and this amount depends on their level of experience and the complexity of your divorce case. The more experience and success an attorney has in a specific area of law, the more costly their fees are likely to be.

A high-net-worth divorce case will have a higher attorney cost than a standard divorce. These divorces require the use of more professionals and significantly more time to value, categorize, and divide assets. The length of time this will take also increases your legal costs based on the hourly fee. A case that is handled through litigation will be more expensive than one negotiated through an alternative method.

Before working with an attorney, you should also ensure that you understand their costs and how you would be charged for your unique case. An attorney should explain the costs of their services and be straightforward with you.

Does My Husband Have to Pay for My Divorce Lawyer in Florida?

In Florida, there are situations where the court may have one spouse pay the reasonable attorney fees of the other spouse. When one spouse has significantly more financial resources than the other, it may be appropriate for the spouse with fewer resources to petition the court to order the other spouse to pay their attorney fees. However, this is not always granted, and if a reasonable out-of-court settlement was rejected by the lower-earning spouse, the court is less likely to award attorney’s fees.

What Is the Average Retainer Fee for a Divorce Lawyer in Florida?

A retainer fee for a divorce attorney in Florida may be between $2,000 and $7,000. This fee is an upfront charge to reserve an attorney’s services, which the initial hourly cost is then taken from. These may be refundable or non-refundable. A contested or litigated divorce case will likely have a more expensive retainer fee or even multiple retainer fees.

What Complicates High-Asset Divorces?

When one or both spouses have a high net worth and high income, this can impact the division of property, the awarding of alimony, and the calculation of child support. In addition, there are several challenges throughout these proceedings that are not present in standard divorces, including:

Marital Agreements

This includes both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Although many couples have begun using marital agreements, they are much more common in high-net-worth and high-asset marriages. When a couple divorces, their marital agreement will state how their assets are divided.

As long as it follows contract law and is not unconscionable, the court will uphold it. In many cases, a marital agreement can make the divorce process faster, as couples do not have to spend as much time negotiating or litigating the division of assets. However, an agreement that is not binding, or does not include all of a couple’s marital assets, may lengthen the divorce process.

More Disputes

Any divorcing couples may face disputes. They are more common in high-net-worth divorces because of the significant wealth that each spouse stands to lose or gain. Divorce itself is very expensive, and the financial impact of property division, alimony, and child support can all affect the financial stability of either spouse. There are also more fears about incorrectly valued assets, and spouses may disagree on how property is valued. There are many disagreements that can raise tensions throughout the process.

Long and Costly

It takes longer to inventory, evaluate, and categorize property in a high-asset divorce than in other divorces. The length of time it takes to settle a divorce increases the costs associated with it, such as attorney fees, court costs, and financial professional expenses. The duration can be reduced by managing the case outside of court, but it will still take significant time. Litigation relies on the schedule of the court, while other methods have more scheduling freedom.

Business Ownership and Interest

When one or both parties own businesses or business interests, this is an especially complicated form of asset valuation. Businesses can be hard to value, and it takes time to determine what portion of a business or an interest in one is marital or separate property. A business is a high-value asset. However it is categorized, it will have a significant impact on the division of property.

Additionally, it matters if one or both spouses wish to keep the business functional. There will have to be more in-depth discussions about the different methods available for a business during the division of assets.

Tax Implications

The division or liquidation of certain assets can have tax implications, and these implications are much more significant in high-net-worth divorces. It’s important that these implications are considered during the creation of a separation agreement.

Defend Your Financial Security in West Palm Beach

Financial and legal challenges in a divorce are likely to worsen existing emotional challenges. It is important to have the support and resources you need to successfully resolve your high-net-worth divorce. Contact Fairway Law Group today to learn how we can help you find creative family law solutions.


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