Special Considerations in High Asset Divorces

Consider a Private Judge

The public courts are overburdened, underfunded, and inefficient. As a result, it often saves money and a great deal of time on complex cases to pay a private judge to handle the case. It also allows for greater confidentiality, flexibility in managing your personal calendar, and provides for hearings in a quicker and  more pleasant environment.


Disclosure of all finances and business opportunities is mandatory in family law proceedings. Dissemination of this information to the public must be minimized.

Tax Planning

There are often a multitude of options for dividing a community property estate. Concrete planning, collaboration with tax, real estate and estate planning professionals and foresight can minimize tax consequences.

Wealth & Retirement Planning

The division of an asset may result in a lost investment opportunity, penalties, or other negative outcomes. There are different ways to divide an individual asset, or in the alternative, to exchange one asset for another, to maximize parties’ wealth and retirement strategies.


The significant assets present in high asset divorce cases are often accumulated prior to marriage, or gifted or bequeathed to one party alone, making those assets separate property. However, during the marriage these assets are frequently commingled with other community property assets. An example would include, a party having a mutual investment fund prior to marriage to which funds were earned or obtained during the marriage.

In addition, the form in which the assets are held may be changed (e.g., a party may invest monies from his separate property savings into a family home or business). Lastly, the title in which the asset is held may change from one party’s name to both parties or to the other party’s nameand/or into the name of a trust or other entity. In each of these scenarios the original separate property funds must be carefully traced if the party wishes to claim them as his/her separate property.

Premarital and Postmarital Agreements

Our firm has expertise in litigation premarital and postmarital.

If you are seeking a knowledgeable and skilled lawyer to handle your high asset divorce issues, we are ready to help. Call today (949) 398-8720.

Valuation of Assets

Each type of asset may create different challenges and issues for valuation. For example:

Businesses: Businesses are generally valued much differently in a divorce than in the market place. Forensic accountants are typically retained to conduct such valuations.A business that has no value in the marketplace and is incapable of being sold may be found by a family law judge to have a significant value. In addition, a business that was started before marriage, or had a significant change in value following separation, present additional complex legal issues.

Residential and Commercial Real Property: Unless the parties can reach an agreement on value, both require appraisers that practice in those fields. Appraisals of the value of such property going back in time to specific dates, such as the date of marriage, and/or when the property changed title from one spouse's name to both, may be needed.

Antiques, Collectibles, Exotic Cars, Paintings, Boats, Intellectual Property: Each requires various experts to value them if the parties are unable to agree.

Tax Deferred Accounts: Liquidation of such accounts typically results in immediate taxes and penalties thus present value might be considerably less than the book value.

Restricted Stock Units & Stock Options (RSU): These typically present complex valuation and characterization as separate or community property issues. For instance, a stock that is granted before marriage, but vested during marriage, typically is both party separate property and part community property.