- Family Law
- Dispute Resolution
If you have decided to dissolve your marriage, no doubt you would prefer the process to be as quick and painless as possible. But for many Connecticut residents, a simple divorce is simply impossible. If you have significant assets, a closely held business and/or complex investments, dividing significant wealth can be very contentious. If you have children and disagree about how they should be raised, where they should live and who should bear the costs, there could be an emotional and protracted struggle concerning the custody of your children. Under such circumstances, it is indispensable to have a capable and experienced divorce attorney representing you. At Needle|Cuda, we know how to protect your rights in a complex and high-net-worth divorce in an efficient manner without running up legal bills in pursuit of unreasonable outcomes. When you retain our services, you can expect professionalism along with our sincere concern for your future.
In Connecticut, asset division during divorce follows the rules of equitable distribution. A judge has broad discretion in arriving at a fair though not necessarily equal division of assets and debts. All property owned by either spouse is considered in the process. Parties in high-net-worth divorces often clash over how much of the property they believe should go to each of them and over the multiple factors that are considered by the court, including each party’s economic and noneconomic contributions to the marriage.
Valuation of real estate portfolios, family businesses, intellectual property interests, fine art, fine jewelry, equestrian ownership interests, cryptocurrency, complex equity holdings (e.g. Carried Interest, Restricted Stock Units, and Limited Partnership Interests) and other excotic assets is often subjective and contentious, requiring the assistance of independent experts. In addition, affluent parties may have offshore bank accounts, cryptocurrencies and other assets that are hard to locate. These require careful investigation since there is no guarantee the party will disclose these hard to locate assets during divorce proceedings. Absent a valid and enforceable premarital agreement, even premarital, inherited or gifted assets will be considered by the court when entering a judgment of equitable distribution, and you should have capable counsel to advocate for you to get your fair share of those and other assets.
Additional complications arise in divorces involving executives and other highly paid individuals, whose compensation packages may include stock, restricted stock units, preferred stock units, stock options (vested or unvested), perquisites, bonuses, deferred compensation and retirement accounts. In addition to determinations as to value and division of these assets, potential tax implications must be considered whenever such property is transferred.
In a high-net-worth divorce, both parties are generally able to provide a suitable residence for the children. Nevertheless, child custody can still be disputed. The demands of a career can make it hard to assume the responsibilities of a caretaker and arranging parenting time when each parent has a busy work regimen can be a challenge. Child custody and support agreements often include provisions for private school, costly enrichment activities, summer camps, college funds, and even payment for college education itself. We are adept at finding creative solutions that protect your parental rights while also serving the best interests of your children.
A premarital or postnuptial agreement can simplify divorce by providing instructions on property rights, support and other financial issues. However, if the court finds there was fraud or coercion in obtaining the agreement or that it is so one-sided that enforcing it would be unconscionable, the court can invalidate the agreement. This can lead to an appeal, which would prolong the divorce process.
Nevertheless, the more that complex issues can be committed to a written, enforceable agreement, the better the chances of achieving an effective resolution of a high-net-worth divorce. Even without a pre- or postnuptial agreement parties can often reach a settlement through various processes, including 4-way conferences and mediation with counsel on both sides, which can save the time and expense of a trial.
Needle|Cuda in Fairfield County represents affluent clients in divorce proceedings throughout Connecticut. We provide highly responsive service and effective representation focused on positive results. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 203-429-4151 or contact our Westport office online.