Divorce is stressful, anxiety-inducing, and painful—and that’s in the best-case scenario. When you’re divorcing someone with substantial assets, however, the stakes are even higher. You’re preparing to split from someone who can likely outspend you legally, has more knowledge of their assets than you do, and is determined to protect those assets.
When divorcing a millionaire, you need to be proactive. Choose an attorney who is willing to fight aggressively for your best interests so you can have a fresh start. To find out how Coumanis & York can help you during this difficult time, call us at 251-990-3083 to schedule a consultation.
Choose an Attorney Who Focuses on High Net Worth Divorce
You should never try to DIY a divorce case, a fact that’s even more important when you’re divorcing someone with lots of money. The choices you make during a divorce can affect you financially for years to come, and once you’ve agreed to something in a court order, it can be difficult to change it.
Furthermore, high net worth divorces often have different issues and challenges than standard divorce cases. You need an attorney with extensive experience handling these types of cases if you want to be on equal footing with your ex-partner.
Stock Options and Restricted Stock Awards
When there’s a lot of money at stake in a divorce, it’s likely that the money is spread across a variety of assets and financial holding. This is one of the benefits of working with a high net worth divorce attorney; they have an in-depth understanding of high-value assets and the complications of dividing these assets. Furthermore, they also often have connections with financial planners and forensic accountants who can further break down this information in a way that is useful to you.
Those who hold executive positions are often rewarded with stock options or restricted stock awards. Stock options allow an employee to buy stocks in the future based on the price on the day options were granted.
For example, if an employee were granted stock options on a day when the stock was $30, they might wait one to five years for the vesting period to pass. At that point, they would be able to buy stocks—now worth $200—for $30 each, significantly boosting their profit. However, this income is taxed at a high level, and you need to be prepared for that if you get stock options in a divorce.
Restricted stock awards are another popular type of employee compensation. Employees receive the stocks upfront but cannot sell them until the shares vest. Vesting schedules vary from company to company, and the specific vesting schedule of your spouse’s stocks can influence how the stocks are divided in divorce.
If your spouse is a C-level executive, much of their income is likely tied up in their job performance and their company’s stock performance. While they do receive an annual salary, the majority of their income may come from stocks, bonuses, and retirement funds. If you make decisions regarding asset division, spousal support, and child support based only on your ex-partner’s base salary, you are likely leaving a lot of money on the table.
Each party in a divorce is required to disclose fully their assets and debts. But when one individual is compensated in so many different ways, it’s easy for one or two types of compensation to fall by the wayside.
That’s one reason you need a high net worth divorce attorney who can use a forensic accountant to track every last type of income your spouse has. You have likely made significant sacrifices to help your ex-partner thrive in their career—you deserve compensation for those sacrifices, not to start over with nothing after a divorce.
Choose Coumanis & York for Your Divorce Needs
Going up against a high earner in a divorce case can be intimidating, but if you have the right legal team on your side, you can rest easy knowing that your case is in good hands. To discuss the details of your divorce and make a plan going forward, contact Coumanis & York today. You can call us at 251-990-3083 or to set up a consultation. We look forward to serving you!