In the big picture, California divorces work the same no matter how much a couple has in the bank. They still have to divide their community property, decide child custody and parenting time issues and, if necessary, award spousal support and child support.
Even though the laws are the same, a couple who makes more money or has a lot of property have some special financial circumstances.
These circumstances mean that their divorces might raise issues that other couples might not think much about.
More assets mean there is more of a chance for disputes
For one, more assets mean that the stakes are higher in a couple’s divorce. As a result, people may be more willing to fight longer and harder if they feel they are not getting the property they deserve.
On a related point, California residents with more community property also have more money to hire experts and take other steps to get the parenting arrangements that they want.
Additionally, couples with a high net worth frequently have their wealth invested in many types of assets, some of which are hard to track down and easy to hide.
Even if both spouses are above board about their property, items like business interests, investment property and collectibles like art or classic cars can be hard to put a value on. Moreover, when it comes to alimony and child support, figuring out each spouse’s income can be complicated.
On a related point, while tax considerations are important in most divorces, wealthier couples may need to pay attention to capital gains and other tax consequences to their divorce.
Privacy may be an important concern for high-asset couples
Since they frequently also hold prominent roles in their communities, high net-worth couples may also have concerns about their privacy.
Divorces are matters of public record in California. What this means is that the details of a long and contentious case, including personal and financial details, might be available for anyone to see.
Keeping a proceeding out of the public eye is possible but not easy.
It may pay off for a couple with a lot of wealth to try mediation or some other type of alternative dispute resolution which can allow for much more privacy. Mediation is not the right choice for everyone, but people with money and connections should keep it in mind.