Getting the finances right is important in any divorce settlement, but in cases where there is a lot of money at stake, doing so becomes more complex. When high asset divorce happens in Washington State, the court decides how to divide up marital property in an equitable way -- equitable, meaning fair and equal, not necessarily 50/50, and they will also look at what assets should be considered separate property that the other spouse should not hold a legal claim to.
Washington is a community property state. What does this mean exactly? In general, this means that each spouse receives fifty percent of all property (debts and liabilities) acquired during the marriage. However, you may not receive exactly fifty percent of property in a divorce, depending on the circumstances. And, you may be able to keep some property that is deemed "non marital." If at all possible, it's best to divide the property through divorce negotiations, else you may not get what you want if a court has to divide the property.
When a marriage is about to be over, both spouses usually have some ability to see the writing on the wall before one of them actually says the word "divorce" or simply has papers served. But whether there is a vague sense of an upcoming breakup or not, moving on requires a certain amount of preparation in order to be able to move on successfully. The more time you are able to spend making preparations the better, because it's likely you will be able to be more subtle and be better prepared as you walk away.
When a person ordered to pay child support in Washington fails to comply with that order, it can have serious implications for their professional lives. Child support enforcement is based on both federal and state laws, with a range of options available to enforcement agencies to compel people to make payments.
When one or both parties in a divorce have significant assets, this can mean a more complex divorce situation. More real estate, bank accounts, businesses, and intellectual property, retirements and stock awards can mean more property to characterize and valuate. Businesses are particularly difficult to valuate because of the intangible value that must often be assigned. If you are heading towards a high net worth divorce, it is important to arm yourself with knowledge and the right divorce attorney.
Wealthy individuals in Washington who are going through a divorce may be interested to hear about a recent outcome in the divorce case of Harold Hamm, the billionaire founder of Continental Resources, Inc. Hamm's wife had been vying for his controlling stake in the company as part of their divorce settlement. In Feb. 2014, a judge ruled that more than 122 million shares of Continental that Hamm had owned before getting married would be considered his separate property, not assets of the marriage.
Washington sports fans may have heard that Frank McCourt, the former owner of the Dodgers, wants his ex-wife to be responsible for nearly $2 million in legal fees. He reportedly believes that she should pay for these fees after she attempted to contest their divorce settlement but was unsuccessful.
A recent appellate court decision may impart valuable advice to Washington residents wanting to prevent protracted dispute over complex asset division during divorce. The litigants were a couple who executed a prenuptial agreement to exempt all gifts, inheritances and personal business profits from equitable property division in the event of marital dissolution. During their marriage, the woman quit her career to stay home with the couple's four children, and the man built a telecom business that became successful within a year of their high asset divorce. When he later defaulted on court-ordered spousal and child support payments of more than $4,500, the ex-wife went back to court. Her ex-husband pleaded lack of income caused by no longer having an ownership interest in the company and subsistence solely on gifts from his former business partner and in-laws.
One of the aspects of a divorce that is often contentious involves the division of assets. In community property states such as Washington, assets acquired during a marriage are divided equally between divorcing spouses. In other states, though, the distribution of property is based on what is considered to be fair in the eyes of the courts. Either way, a high asset divorce can present significant tax issues.
Washington residents may be interested to learn that, after a prolonged battle, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are reportedly ready to finalize their divorce. The couple announced in Nov. 2011 that they were ending their marriage and Kutcher officially filed for divorce a year later. Since that time, both stars have reportedly started new relationships.