12/18/2018

High Net Worth Divorce

Stockbrokers, financial planners, hedge fund managers and other high net worth individuals (and their spouse) going through a divorce often face issues arising from the nature of their compensation structures, which may involve commissions, stock options, restricted stock, deferred compensation, WAP accounts, sign on or stay bonuses, forgivable loans, and various other forms of compensation. Hiring a family lawyer that has experience in these types of compensation structures and the financial impact they may have in a divorce, with respect to alimony, child support and equitable distribution, may be a focus for selecting the appropriate lawyer.

Selecting a lawyer with experience representing high net worth individuals may have a significant impact on financial distribution. Often, attorneys without this experience either do not take the time or do not have the necessary experience to fully grasp a high net worth individual’s compensation structure and apply governing law to the benefit of their client. By way of example, it may be useful to identify recurring income versus lump sum forms of compensation that may be considered an aberration and therefore not a factor for consideration in an alimony analysis. Such compensation may include receiving a one-time sign on or retention bonus as compensation that a financial planner received during the marriage. In another hypothetical example, consider a future or unknown sign-on bonus that is expected to be received by the financial planning spouse at some future date beyond the divorce, and whether or not the now former spouse would have any entitlement to it.

If you have a question or wish to discuss this topic with one of our family lawyers, please give Joe a call at (732) 352-9871.

Originally Posted 4/12/2017

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