Important Considerations for High Net Worth Divorces in North Carolina

Protecting your assets in a divorce is always important, but you may be even more concerned about this process if you have an extremely high net worth. Perhaps you have struggled for decades to amass your wealth, painstakingly creating a business in North Carolina from the ground up or gradually working your way up the corporate ladder. Whatever the case may be, one thing is for certain: It does not make sense to throw away your assets simply because a marriage did not work out.

If maintaining your wealth is a priority, then working with a qualified, experienced divorce attorney is absolutely essential. These legal professionals can utilize a number of effective strategies to mitigate your potential losses, regardless of the exact circumstances surrounding your separation. That being said, it is always helpful to do your own research into how high net worth divorces are handled in North Carolina.

Why Income Matters for Child Support

For normal citizens of North Carolina, the court follows a predetermined process to settle matters relating to child support. On the other hand, the situation changes if one or both parents earn more than $300,000 per year (or over $25,000 per month). If you fall into this category, judges at the North Carolina Family Courts will hold you to a different set of standards.

Like all aspects of child support, the entire process is geared towards the child’s best interests. North Carolina law recognizes the fact that a child may have become accustomed to a certain standard of living due to the income level and wealth of their parents. When a child loses this high standard of living as a result of a divorce, it can make the emotionally turbulent effects of separation even more difficult for them.

For example, if your child is enrolled at a Mooresville private school such as Cornerstone Christian Society, a judge would do everything possible to ensure that tuition costs are still paid, so that the child would not lose their friends and a familiar environment.

Other “reasonable needs” might involve expensive nannies or even costly hobbies like horseback riding. What this all means is that a judge will likely award custody to the parent who can afford to maintain the child’s high standard of living. While the wealthier parent does not always win sole custody, they usually have a high chance of gaining shared custody at the very least.

Dividing Your Property

North Carolina is not a “community property” state, which means you have a significant degree of protection when your assets are divided after a divorce. Not all of your assets will be split completely down the middle. If you have assets that were acquired prior to the marriage, these are classified as “separate property.” As the name implies, these assets are kept separate from any process involving the equitable distribution of property after separation. In other words, you get to keep the property you owned before you got married.

Unfortunately, this is not always as straightforward as it sounds. Maintaining your property is easy enough if you have only been married for a couple of years, and you acquired most of your assets before the marriage. On the other hand, what happens if you have been married to someone for most of your life, and you acquired your wealth over a long period during the marriage? In this case, most of your assets would be classified as “marital property,” and they would be subject to equitable distribution by the court.

Paying Spousal Support

If both parents are high-level executives that earn seven-figure incomes, spousal support is rarely an issue. For a judge in North Carolina, it quickly becomes obvious that neither party will face financial hardships as a result of the divorce, and spousal support simply is not necessary.

In the case of a “stay-at-home” parent and a spouse who is earning a high income, however, this situation is quite different. The judge may determine that the “dependent spouse” is unable to maintain the high standard of living they have become accustomed to as a result of the marriage. In this case, spousal support may be necessary, and you could pay significant sums.

That being said, an experienced divorce attorney can lower or even eliminate these spousal support payments. There are a number of factors a judge will take into account when calculating spousal support, such as the length of the marriage and the educational qualifications of the dependent spouse. In addition, spouses may lose out on their right to spousal support as a result of their marital misconduct, such as extramarital affairs.

Getting Legal Help

If you need help with your high net worth divorce, reach out to Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at one of our three Charlotte area offices by calling us at 704-370-2828.