High-Asset Divorce

Complex asset distribution in a divorce

If you have brought considerable assets into your marriage, or your marriage has lasted long enough for you to accumulate substantial wealth and material possessions, the ending of the marriage by divorce can be an even more stress-filled endeavor than it is ordinarily. It is not just accurately assessing the dollar value that can be problematic; you can also have a contentious experience with your soon-to-be ex-spouse as to who is entitled to what. You may have a nice home, considerable liquid assets in a variety of accounts, a substantial investment portfolio, real estate holdings other than your home, pensions and other retirement accounts, and so on. If you have worked closely with an accountant to protect your assets, you might also have structured your holdings to minimize your tax consequences, but in an asset division this can add to your potential headaches. Helping our clients to understand equitable distribution in Massachusetts, particularly with high-value assets on the line, is something that we at David M. Gabriel & Associates have extensive experience with. We can help you to carefully assess each asset’s actual value, and to navigate specific circumstances like assets connected to a business or properly determining whether an asset is a marital or a separate one. Your divorce may be amicable, but complex asset division can still become a source of friction when it comes to reaching a fair settlement. You will want a law firm to represent you that diligently represents your interests. To learn more about

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How do you know if it’s time to find a new therapist?

If you seek the help of a therapist while going through a divorce, it can make a significant difference in how successful you are in moving on with your life. However, not all therapists, no matter how prestigious their alma maters and how many best-selling books they’ve written, are necessarily good at one-on-one counseling. If you’ve never been “in therapy,” it can be hard to know what you should and shouldn’t accept from a therapist. One psychotherapist notes some important “red flags” that people should look out for. — Critical: A good therapist will help you see things about yourself that you should change to have healthier relationships and a happier life. Sometimes that involves a little “tough love.” However, that criticism should never be unkind or insulting. — Self-absorbed: While some therapists will share their own experiences if they believe it’s helpful to their patients, that should be done sparingly. You’re not paying to hear about their lives. Your sessions should focus on you — not your therapist. — Distracted: You should be the sole focus of your therapist during your session. If your therapist is checking emails, sending texts, taking phone calls or even watching the clock, call him or her out on it. You’re paying for that person’s time and expertise. — Inappropriate: Unfortunately, some therapists don’t understand the appropriate boundaries of their professions. While a hug or comforting pat may be welcome and needed, if your therapist’s physical contact moves beyond that or if he or

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Many couples don’t talk about retirement funds

When heading to divorce, one of the most important things to do is to list out all of your assets and your spouse’s assets. To know what a fair split of your property will look like, you need to know exactly what property is there. This is something that sounds easy on the outside. Wouldn’t both people naturally know how much money was in the bank, how much was saved for retirement and how much was invested? You hear stories about spouses hiding money, but they seem curious if you assume that couples talk about money and know what should be there. Well, a new study showed that couples don’t actually talk about this as much as you may think. Couples were asked if they knew how much their partner had saved up for retirement. They weren’t even asked to give an exact figure, but just to give a ballpark number — $10,000, for example, or $200,000. In 21 percent of the cases, they simply couldn’t do it. Experts note that there could be a distinct decision not to disclose these amounts. People may feel that financial information is personal and they’re not interested in opening up all aspects of their lives, even after marriage. However, they do admit that, for some couples, the question just never came up and was never addressed. Regardless, though, this shows how difficult property division can be. It doesn’t matter why you don’t know what your partner has; it just matters that you don’t.

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Court rules man can opt not to pay ex-wife $1.4 million

An heir to the Educor Inc. fortune will receive millions from a trust, and a court recently ruled that he does not have to pay his ex-wife out of that money. The money comes from a trust that the man’s father set up, which contains around $24 million total. The man also works for an Educor subsidiary as an assistant bookstore manager, and he brings in $170,000 per year. On top of that, the man’s brother paid him about $800,000 out of the trust. The brother is in charge of distributing the money. The man’s ex-wife, on the other hand, has been part of the Army Reserves and worked as a part-time ultrasound technician, making $22,672. She quit her post with the military just two years before she would have been eligible for a pension. Reports indicate that she did it to take care of her daughter, at the insistence of the family. Her daughter has Down syndrome. An appeals court had previously ruled that the man needed to turn over about 60 percent of the money from the fund, along with some interest, saying that it was part of the “fabric of the marriage.” The total he was meant to pay was $1.4 million. However, the Supreme Judicial Court recently decided that he should not have to pay since he was not the one in control of the fund, and there was technically the chance that he may not get payments in the future. The man’s lawyer agreed with

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How to get your ex-spouse or partner to pay a portion of college

In Massachusetts, the Family Law Court has the authority to order divorced parents to contribute something to their children’s college education expenses. Usually the court won’t deal with this at trial unless the child is nearly at the age to attend college, but many agreements will address the issue in some way. When it comes to the payment of college education expenses, the specific language that your agreement is very important. Many agreements require parents to contribute in proportion to their incomes and abilities at the time the college bill becomes due. However, if your agreement states that you are to share equally, then that could require you to contribute one half of the cost. How educational costs are defined by the agreement could differ greatly and the specific language of your Divorce Agreement will be key to determining exactly what you are required to pay. And if you are required to pay a specific amount and you don’t you could be liable for Contempt. If the issue of payment of college is modifiable in your agreement or defined vaguely or even not at all, then when it comes time to determine how the college education expenses are going to be split, you should try to reach agreement with your ex-spouse on this issue. Often, an uncontested agreement cannot be met. Therefore you or your attorney must file a Complaint for Modification to have the court determine contributions. If you have a specific agreement, but it is modifiable and you

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Financial divorce documents you may need

For those getting divorced, it’s very easy to focus on the social and emotional sides of the split. While these things are important, it’s crucial to remember the legal side of the divorce, as well, and it comes with a lot of documentation. You don’t want to overlook anything, so consider the following examples of documents you may need: 1. Change of ownership forms that go along with your investments. If you’re saving for retirement, you want to make sure that you still have access to your funds — and that you’re the only one who does. 2. Beneficiary alteration forms. You probably listed your spouse as the beneficiary on your life insurance policy, and it is time to change it over to another relative, such as a sibling or a child. 3. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order, commonly known as a QDRO. This can be used if you get benefits — like a pension plan — from your employer. Your spouse may be entitled to a portion of those benefits. 4. Title change forms for your major assets. Things like your family home or your car may be in both of your names. Most couples either transfer these assets into just one person’s name or sell them off and divide the money. 5. Your will. This is perhaps the most important document to alter after a divorce, as you want to be sure the right people are given your estate when you pass away. It can be tough to

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How to divorce a wealthy spouse when you have few assets

When there is a great disparity between the individual wealth of the spouses in a high asset divorce, the marital assets and resources can become symbolic of the failure of the marriage. When this happens, sometimes one spouse will unreasonably try to tie up a divorce in order to exact a kind of revenge on the other. Former partners can get hopelessly bogged down haggling over wine collections or antique cars and running up their respective attorneys’ bills. Mediation may be helpful when trying to reach accord on some sticking point in a high asset divorce. One thing that is important to consider when there are children involved is that it can foster confusion and resentment in the kids when one parent has a vastly different lifestyle than the other post-divorce. When one parent earns a great deal of money or comes from a background of wealth but the other parent has few resources, children shuttling back and forth between the two may struggle with living two very different lifestyles. Ensuring that the less well-heeled spouse does not end up penurious is often the best solution for all concerned. This doesn’t mean that the parents will have the same amount of wealth, but will provide the minor children with all that they need to live comfortably in both households. If you have concerns over the financial settlement in your pending divorce because your soon-to-be ex-spouse is independently wealthy, retaining a family law attorney who is very familiar with asset valuation

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Real estate holdings can impact property division

When you have amassed considerable assets, the last thing that you want is to lose those assets if you get divorced. In a high-asset divorce, there are many factors that come into the picture when it is time to divvy up the assets. If you are facing a divorce and have real estate assets, there are some special considerations that you have to take into account. One of the top priorities is that you need to have the properties assessed. This is done by a Realtor and will give you an estimate of what the property is worth. Once you know that information, you can determine the actual value of the property by subtracting any loans that include the property as security. We know that many people are still trying to recover from the financial crisis that occurred. This means that some people might have properties that are in distress or have negative equity. We can help you to determine how those properties should be handled during the property division process. Once we know the value of the properties, we can determine how the property should be classified. This can involve looking into when the property was acquired, as well as how the expenses for the property were handled. It can also include the terms of a premarital agreement if there is one in your case. We also have to consider other assets that you own. We also must consider debts. Once we have all the financial information, we can

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