Arizona High Asset Divorce Cases
Author: Chris Hildebrand
Arizona High Asset Divorce
High asset divorce cases in Arizona require a very particular set of knowledge, skills, and experience to ensure a fair and equitable outcome in the final property division. Our attorneys have handled many high asset cases in Arizona and are well equipped to manage vast and complicated financial cases. Other family law attorneys in Arizona recognize our unique ability to handle high asset divorce cases in Arizona. Many of these cases involve the valuation of a business, tracing hidden assets, and appraising jewelry, fine art, and other valuables.
Many complex factors also go into analyzing how much of an increase in the value of a sole and separate business creates a community lien. The attorney must first establish the value of the company immediately before marriage, as well as determine the value of the business at the time the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Petition for Legal Separation was served. However, that is only the beginning of establishing the value of a community lien against a sole and separate business.
Detailed questions need to be answered to determine how much of that increase in value is attributable to the inherent qualities of the business, the economy, and the industry in which the company operates, just to name a few. These factors will decrease the community lien on a sole and separate business. Other factors to consider when evaluating a community lien on a separate business include whether the business retained all of its’ earnings or whether some or all of the income was spent in the community, such that the community has already been fairly compensated for some or all of the community lien.
Also, factors such as whether the growth was due to the skill, expertise, or labor of the spouse during the marriage. These factors may increase the value of the community lien. Our Scottsdale Arizona high asset divorce attorneys, who share more than one hundred years experience, have handled numerous such cases.
Tracing Hidden Assets in a High Asset Arizona Divorce
A spouse may have concerns his or her spouse has been diverting and hiding assets that, if undiscovered, will be kept solely by the spouse how diverted or hid those assets. There are very complicated schemes spouses may use to accomplish the diversion and concealment of community property. Your attorney needs to understand how to research the existence of property in other states, as well as be able to have the experience reviewing and tracking assets and financial transactions between multiple accounts and investments to be able to uncover monies that have either been withdrawn or transferred into unknown accounts.
Earnings statements, bank account statements, investment account statements, tax returns, and credit card statements all need to be carefully analyzed to uncover the tricks used by such spouses, but your attorney has no know what he or she is specifically looking for; otherwise, it is just a bunch of numbers.
Valuations of Valuable Art, Jewelry, and Other Valuables
An experienced high asset attorney will pay particular attention to the appraisal of art, jewelry, and other valuable personal property. At times, these valuations can be a very subjective while, at other times, the value of these items can be determined with a higher degree of accuracy. Items that are one-of-a-kind or have a small market for resale pose some particular problems. Problems that an experienced high asset divorce attorney will already know how to address.
Whether we need to trace hidden assets, appraise valuable art jewelry or other personal property items, evaluate a business, or appraise a real estate investment company, we understand the different valuation methodologies a court may apply. We understand the arguments in support of the most appropriate method the court should apply, which ensures the real value of those assets are discovered and fairly divided, which may mean the difference of millions of dollars of additional community property value.
Ownership and Community Liens on Businesses in an Arizona Divorce
A business started during marriage with community funds and labor will be considered community property unless it is shown by the clear and convincing evidence, which is a very high burden of proof, has waived his or her interest in the community business. If the company was owned by one spouse before marriage but increased in value during the marriage, an argument may be made that some or all of that increase in value creates a lien in favor of the community.
Many complex factors go into analyzing the value of a business. The starting point is having an attorney who understands the complex financial statements of the business, including Profit and Loss statements, Statement of Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and General Ledger to determine the value of the income earned from the business, as well as the value of the physical assets of the business. Those financial statements must then be scrutinized to determine if the business owner is paying personal expenses through the business or has accelerated the depreciation of the assets. In both cases, the value of the business will be lower if either of these two events occurs and the attorney does not know what to look for.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about high asset divorce cases in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about divorce laws in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.