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Alimony in High-Asset Divorces: Strategies for Wealthy Individuals in South Carolina

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Avoid a Wealth of Errors in High-Asset Divorce

Divorce is hard for almost anyone. Consider a high-asset or high-wealth family and the complexities of divorce immediately escalate. The division of assets can be complex for even the smallest of estates. Still, if there are significant assets, business interests, or more, both parties are sure to want to protect their investments during and after the divorce.

South Carolina follows an equitable distribution rule in the division of assets. Read on to learn more about this and why it’s important to you.

Equitable Distribution

When dividing assets, South Carolina follows the equitable distribution rule. For some, they may assume that this means that each party will get a 50/50 split of the assets. This assumption is not the case, and the judge has discretion as to how they will distribute assets that were accumulated during the marriage using marital funds.

This discretion can mean that even if your name is on a particular asset, if it was accumulated using partly marital funds during the marriage, it may be up for equitable distribution.

Some of the common factors that the judge will review to determine what is equitable are;

Value of the marital assets

How long the marriage lasted, the current age of each spouse, and the age they were when they married

Income and earning potential of each party to help determine who may be left at a financial disadvantage

What nonmarital property or assets each party may have

If there was marital misconduct on behalf of either party and how that may have affected the choice to divorce

The tax implications for both parties post-divorce and after asset distribution

If separate maintenance or alimony is awarded, and whether these exist from a previous marriage for either party

Business Ownership or Interest

Relying on your family law attorney to calculate the value of the business in question, as well as the potential earning capacity and more, is invaluable to you during your divorce. Determining this can be challenging, but it can help establish how assets should be distributed and provide guidance for a reasonable strategy to protect your interests in the business.

Depending on how the business is structured can create an issue as well because if the company’s managing team is now restructured as a result of the divorce, the ability to make decisions may be an issue in the newly structured business.

Determining Alimony

Alimony and child support are highly sensitive issues in any divorce but can be especially important in high-net-worth divorces. As mentioned above, equitable distribution will play a key role in how assets are dispersed; alimony is essential to that determination.

A straightforward calculation of alimony is difficult to make in even a standard divorce. Income from multiple businesses, income from investments, bonuses, and numerous streams of income can make calculating alimony challenging.

Meticulous documentation regarding your and your spouse’s income from all avenues is imperative for calculating what proper alimony should be awarded. Working with your attorney to gather this evidence is critical to ensuring that they can fiercely advocate for accurate alimony.

Other Factors To Consider When Estimating Alimony

Another factor that may be considered is whether or not marital fault occurred in the marriage. Was there adultery or infidelity by either party? Was either party abusive to the other? If there is viable evidence of these examples, this can sometimes sway the amount of alimony awarded.

Another important note is if the couple had an enforceable prenuptial agreement in place. It may be enforceable if the couple creates a prenup while both are transparent about their financial assets and debts without coercing one another to sign the prenup. Suppose a significant amount of wealth was obtained since the prenup was created. In that case, the judge may choose not to honor what the couple deemed appropriate due to the financial picture being significantly different than it was when the prenup was created.

The standard of living is a factor the judge will include in their determination of alimony. In high-net-worth divorces, this can mean that a large sum of alimony may be awarded to one of the parties to maintain the standard of living for them.

Judge’s Discretion

As most of the strategy for calculating alimony for either party relies on a judge’s discretion, providing valuable evidence showing what is fair for you moving forward is even more vital. An experienced attorney who will fiercely advocate for you during this process can have life-changing effects on you for years to come.

Your Most Effective Advocate When You Need it the Most

Don’t leave your financial future in just anyone’s hands. We pride ourselves on providing a one-on-one approach to our clients. We listen to them thoroughly and quickly get back to them because we value their time.

Divorce can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to mean that your financial future will be at risk. With an effective strategy, we can work together to help you navigate this challenging chapter in your life and move forward with peace of mind, knowing you did all you could to protect yourself.

Our experience comes from helping clients with their needs for over 25 years. We are compassionate about your concerns and fierce when we need to protect our clients.

Contact our office at (864) 689-4482 to schedule your strategy session today.

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