Arizona High Net Worth Divorce Attorneys
How To Preserve Your Net Worth When Getting Divorce In Arizona
Your Finances, Time with Your Children, and Future as a Whole are Already on the Line in a Divorce. If You and/or Your Spouse Have a High Net Worth, We Can Help You Preserve that Value by Providing Efficient Legal Services at Reasonable Prices. Call 480-470-1504 for Your Free Consultation Today.
Sometimes it really is true what they say- more money, more problems. You probably know this to be so if you are financially well-off and considering divorce. Anything you acquired during the marriage may need to be divided between you and your spouse if you get divorced. You may also be especially interested in keeping the proceedings out of the public eye. Many divorce attorneys can recognize this type of situation and will use it to their advantage. However, our family law team is busy enough that we have no incentive to ignore settlement opportunities to draw out the trial process. We also value word-of-mouth marketing, so we strive to offer high quality service with efficiency that shows up in your legal bill. Your initial consultation is 100% confidential and free. Click here or call 480-470-1504 to request your free consultation with one of our experienced Avondale family lawyers today.
Community Property & High Net Worth Divorce
One of the main concerns in a high net worth divorce is usually how property is divided. With more net worth usually comes more assets, and sometimes also more debts. Some states use equitable division to divide marital assets and debts, while other states use community property laws. Arizona is among the states that use community property laws.
If you’re at the very beginning of the divorce process, you may be wondering what “community property” even means. Community property is all property acquired by the marital estate, and which must be split between the spouses equally upon divorce. In Arizona, it doesn’t matter if a spouse took out a loan in their name alone- if it was during the marriage, it’s a community property debt and/or asset.
While most of what you own may be community property, there is the possibility to acquire your own separate property- before, during, and after a marriage- as well. Property acquired during the marriage separately belongs to that spouse. Separate property can be acquired during the marriage as well. Property acquired by one spouse through gift or devise during the marriage is separate property. Property acquired through inheritance during the marriage is separate property as well. If you own any separate property, you will need to review its history for evidence of commingling to properly prepare yourself for property division.
Commingling & How It Can Affect Your Separate Property’s Status
It can be more comfortable to assume that any of your separate property will be exempt from property division in a divorce. However, this isn’t always the case- commingling may have occurred.
Commingling occurs when separate property and community property become intertwined, and therefore more difficult to divide in a divorce. If an asset has become commingled, the parties or judge will need to decide how much of that asset is separate property, and how much of it belongs to the marital estate. An example would be if one spouse owned a house before marriage, and the other spouse moved in after the wedding. The spouses pool their incomes and eventually install major improvements like a pool, new appliances, and bathroom remodeling. Even if the mortgage was paid in full before the couple got married, some of the home’s value will be part of the marital estate due to community property improvements during the marriage.
Arizona Spousal Support
Property division probably isn’t the only issue of concern in a high net worth divorce. If the spouses don’t have similar incomes, spousal support can be a hotly debated issue in divorce. The factors that a judge will consider when determining spousal support in Arizona are set forth by A.R.S. § 25-319. They include:
- Each spouse’s ability to support themselves after the marriage
- The paying spouse’s ability to pay support
- If either spouse has a condition or is at an age where it would be unreasonable to expect them to go out and seek employment
- The duration of the marriage
- Whether one spouse gave up career opportunities to support their spouse’s career or education
- The standard of living during the marriage
- Future educational costs for the spouse’s mutual children
- How long it will take the spouse seeking support to receive education or training so they can be financially self-sufficient
- The age, employment history, and physical and mental health of the spouse seeking support
- Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment of assets, fraud, marital waste, etc.
- The cost for the spouse seeking maintenance to find new health insurance if they are being kicked off of a family policy
- Damages and judgments from conduct resulting in a criminal conviction in which the spouse seeking support or a child was the victim
As you can see, marital conduct isn’t on the list of factors considered when determining spousal support in Arizona. That means that either spouse’s infidelity or being the spouse to file for divorce (also known as the “petitioner”) won’t impact your spousal support determination. We recommend trying to resolve this issue out of court so that the ultimate decision won’t be left in the judge’s hands.
Spousal Support Modifications In Arizona
Support modifications are governed by A.R.S. § 25-327. Maintenance and support orders can only be modified in Arizona if there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. Any back spousal support accrued before a modification is granted is not cleared by the modification. Spousal support terminates when either spouse passes away or the recipient spouse remarries.
Seeking a spousal support modification is no easy task. Family law judges have an interest in discouraging continuous litigation of issues, so they are hesitant to grant a request for a hearing, let alone a modification. A judge won’t let a spouse voluntarily quit their job to avoid spousal support obligations. A party who pays spousal support should also promptly seek reemployment should they be terminated from their job. If you have questions about modifying spousal support, don’t hesitate to request your free consultation with our firm by clicking here.
Maintaining Privacy In a High Profile Divorce
One of the downsides of being wealthy is that more people may be interested in your private affairs. This is why we often strive to settle out of court for high net worth divorce clients. Consent decrees allow whatever the parties agree to remain private, while a divorce trial can make their financial and marital issues quite public. This is a massive benefit in addition to maintaining control over the outcome rather than leaving it up to the judge.
Some spouses are more difficult to negotiate agreements with than others. Without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place, a vindictive spouse may use the divorce process as a way to exact revenge. In these types of situations, it may take more than what one or two of even the most patient lawyers can offer to reach a settlement agreement. Mediation may provide the spouses that extra boost that helps them agree to a consent decree’s terms. This is a method of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third party guides the parties through issues that need settling. While expensive, it can be effective in resolving issues that were previously at an impasse.
To maintain privacy in your divorce, you can also request that some or all of your divorce records be sealed from the public. There is a presumption in Arizona that court cases should be public record so they are available for public scrutiny. You must prove that allowing these records to be published will cause damage that outweighs the public’s right to scrutiny. Tailoring your request to seal records narrowly will increase the likelihood of the judge granting your request.
Many people don’t realize that one spouse may be required to pay the other spouse’s legal fees in a divorce. In a prolonged legal battle, this expense can be quite significant. A.R.S. § 25-324 allows a judge to order one party to pay another party’s legal fees, including in a divorce action. The judge isn’t likely to order one spouse to pay the other’s divorce attorney’s fees when the spouses have similar incomes and resources. Discuss the potential outcome for this issue in your situation with a Maricopa family law attorney by calling 480-470-1504.
Child Support & Custody
Child support and custody can be major issues in high net worth divorces because of how high child support obligations can be. Additionally, private school tuition, childcare, health insurance, and other expenses can be part of the child support equation. If you are responsible for any of these expenses for your child, you need to be sure you are credited for such when calculating child support. Otherwise, the two main factors considered are the parents’ incomes and how much custody each parent has.
You can find Arizona’s most recent child support guidelines here. The guidelines describe how to calculate child support obligations in immense detail. Child support generally terminates the last day of the month in which the child turns 18 years old. However, if the child hasn’t graduated high school by the time they turn 18, child support will continue until the last day of the month in which they graduate high school or the last day of the month in which they turn 19 years old, whichever comes first. The schedule of basic child support obligations begins at page 41. The minimum obligation for one child listed on the tables is $159 per month, while the maximum is $2,572. These obligations will increase if you share more than one child with your ex. For assistance estimating your potential child support obligations after a divorce, call 480-470-1504 for your free consultation.
Skillful & Fair Legal Representation For Arizona Families of All Means
Whether you have a high net worth or you struggle to pay your monthly expenses, our family law team can help you receive a fair outcome in your divorce while reducing your stress throughout the process. At AZ Family Law Lawyers, we understand that even if you have a high net worth, your assets could be tied up during the divorce leaving less room in your budget for high quality divorce representation. That’s why we offer reasonable rates, affordable retainer fees, and flexible payment plan options. We will fight to protect your interests during a divorce, whether financial or otherwise. All of this guidance and advocacy for your divorce begins with your free initial consultation- call 480-470-1504 or click here to request yours today.
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308
Office: (602) 509-0955
2 East Congress St., Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701
Office: (520) 441-1450
12725 W. Indian School Rd., Ste E, #101
Avondale, AZ 85392
Office: (623) 399-4222
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