Protect Your Assets with the Help of an Experienced Bethesda High Asset Divorce LawyerCalculator Compass Money Magnifying glass

Going through a divorce requires both spouses to carefully consider their current financial circumstances and their long-term financial needs. With the exception of child custody, all of the main aspects of a divorce are financial in nature, from dividing the couple’s assets to determining an appropriate alimony award (if any). Making informed decisions requires the advice of an experienced Bethesda high asset divorce attorney who will take the time to understand your circumstances and develop a comprehensive strategy focused on protecting your best interests.

Attorney Brandon Bernstein has been representing high-net-worth spouses in divorce for more than a decade. If you have questions about protecting your assets or paying (or receiving) alimony, Brandon can guide you forward. When going through a divorce, you need to make a lot of decisions; and, to make the right decisions, it is essential to have an experienced attorney on your side.

5 Steps for Addressing Financial Matters in a High Asset Divorce

In a high asset divorce, it will often make sense to address property division and alimony jointly. This expands the options that are on the table, and it allows divorcing spouses to craft comprehensive divorce settlements that adequately address both parties’ wants and needs.

Broadly speaking, there are five steps involved in addressing the financial matters involved in a high asset divorce. When you choose our firm to represent you, Brandon will guide you through each of these steps—explaining your options, giving you advice, and negotiating with your spouse’s divorce lawyer on your behalf.

Step 1 – Gathering All Relevant Information

The first step is getting access to all of the information you need to make informed decisions. While it is fairly common for one spouse to not have access to some or all of the financial information he or she needs initially, this can be addressed through financial disclosures—or seeking to compel disclosure in court if necessary. 

To put together a full picture of your financial situation and help you strategize, your Bethesda high asset divorce lawyer will need access to records including: 

  • Both spouses’ income from all sources
  • Joint and individual savings and checking account statements
  • Joint and individual brokerage and cryptocurrency accounts
  • Both spouses’ retirement account statements (i.e., 401(k) or IRA account statements)
  • Real estate deeds and mortgages
  • Titles and loan documents for cars, boats and other significant assets
  • Ownership documents for any privately-held businesses
  • An inventory of all personal property acquired individually or jointly before and after the date of marriage

Everyone’s situation is unique, and there may be additional factors that we need to consider. The key is to have a comprehensive understanding of the assets and income sources that are at play in your divorce. Only with this understanding will it be possible to make informed decisions with your long-term best interests in mind.

Step 2 – Developing a Plan

The next step after gathering all necessary information is to develop a plan for securing your desired outcome in your divorce. This includes prioritizing your marital assets, anticipating your spouse’s priorities, and building a persuasive argument with regard to alimony. Knowing what you want, what your spouse wants, and what you are both willing to accept will allow you to approach your divorce systematically. You will be able to make reasoned decisions, and you will be able to stay a step ahead in your divorce negotiations.

Often, high net worth couples will have significant assets held in retirement accounts, and withdrawing assets from these accounts during their divorce can trigger both penalties and tax liability. In these cases, we can negotiate a buy-out, or there are tools we can use to effectively divide the retirement account while avoiding penalties and taxes.

For example, if you or your spouse has a 401(k), IRA or other tax-deferred retirement account, we can use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to split the retirement account into two while avoiding penalties and maintaining its tax-advantaged status. The option to use a QDRO is only available during the divorce process.

Step 3 – Executing Your Plan

Once you have a plan, it is time to execute it. Working alongside your Bethesda high net worth divorce lawyer, you will go through the motions of bringing your marriage to an end. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf—seeking your input as necessary and working to achieve a favorable result without the need for divorce litigation.

Depending on the complexity of the financial matters involved in a couple’s divorce, this process can take anywhere from several weeks to several months. It may also be necessary to engage valuation experts, financial planners or other specialists who can help substantiate your position and examine your spouse’s position with regard to the value of certain assets or your spouse’s post-divorce financial needs. We have good working relationships with several experts in the Bethesda area, and we can provide you with recommendations if needed.

Step 4 – Dealing with Contingencies

While it is essential to have a plan, it is also important to be prepared for any contingencies that may arise during your divorce. For example, if your spouse makes outlandish requests or appears to be hiding information about assets that should be on the table, you will need to be prepared to confront these issues head-on. Bethesda high asset divorce attorney Brandon Bernstein has significant experience dealing with these types of issues, and he can use this experience to help keep your divorce on track toward a favorable settlement.

If you and your spouse are not able to come to terms on any financial matters despite good-faith efforts to negotiate an amicable result, mediation or collaborative law may offer an effective alternative to litigation. These options involve engaging neutral third-party experts whose role is to offer insights based on their experience and propose creative solutions that you and your spouse can tailor to suit your respective wants and needs.

Step 5 – Obtaining Court Approval

Finally, after coming to terms with the financial aspects of your divorce, the final step is to go to the appropriate Maryland Family Law Court for approval. Once a judge signs off on your divorce settlement, your divorce will be final, and you will be able to use the terms you negotiated to start your new post-divorce life.

FAQs: Addressing Complex Financial Matters in a High Asset Divorce

Are My Spouse and I Both Required to Disclose All Assets and Income During Our Divorce?

To ensure a fair outcome, Maryland law requires full disclosure of both spouses’ assets and income during the divorce process. Both spouses are required to make financial disclosures early in the process; and, if you have concerns that your spouse may be hiding information, your attorney can assist with seeking to compel disclosure through the courts.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Maryland?

Prenuptial agreements are generally enforceable in Maryland, and Maryland law allows fiancés to address property division and alimony prior to their marriage. While spouses can challenge the enforceability of their prenuptial agreements on limited grounds, if you have a well-drafted prenup, there is a good chance that it will control the financial aspects of your divorce.

What if My Spouse Makes Unreasonable Demands During Our Divorce?

There are several tactics for addressing unreasonable demands during the divorce process. If you encounter this issue during your divorce, attorney Brandon Bernstein can help you consider your options and choose the best path forward.

Schedule an Appointment with Bethesda High Asset Divorce Attorney Brandon Bernstein

If you have significant assets and are preparing to go through a divorce in Maryland, we invite you to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. Please call 240-395-1418 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with Bethesda high asset divorce attorney Brandon Bernstein.