money next to a pair of rings illustrating high net worth divorce in st.clair shores michigan

Divorce is an emotionally taxing process, all the more so when there are children involved. Unfortunately, a high-net-worth divorce adds additional complications, and therefore additional stressors, to the process. At The Nunley Law Group, PLLC, our lead attorney, Royce Nunley, is aware that when matters such as prenuptial agreements, business interests, inheritance issues, multiple income streams, and multiple real estate holdings are involved, divorce becomes all the more difficult and the need for a highly skilled divorce attorney becomes even more crucial. 

If you are contemplating a high-net-worth divorce in St. Clair Shores or anywhere throughout  Metro Detroit, contact our office today to discuss your best options with a dedicated professional. We have extensive experience, having served clients in the region for nearly a decade. More than that, we have a well-earned reputation for empathy as well as legal  prowess, and an impressive record of successful outcomes.

Aware that settling a divorce out of court can save both time and money, we prefer to arrive at a workable divorce agreement through negotiations alone. Nonetheless, we realize that trials can be unavoidable, especially when there are large sums involved, and we are always prepared to litigate aggressively when necessary.

How The Nunley Law Group Resolves Issues of High Net Worth Divorce 

Because divorce laws differ from state to state, it is essential to have a divorce attorney who has an in-depth understanding of Michigan statutes. 

Division of Assets in Michigan

In Michigan, we divide assets under the principle of equitable distribution. This means that the two spouses need not split their marital assets 50-50, but rather divide them in a way that the court finds fair to each individual.

Marital assets include:

  • Property purchased during the marriage or if the other spouse contributed to mortgage payments, upkeep, and/or renovation
  • Debts accumulated by the couple during the marriage
  • Income earned during the marriage 
  • Businesses or practices that were purchased or have increased in value during the marriage
  • Investments, employment benefits, pensions 
  • Gifts given to one spouse by the other during the marriage 

Separate assets include:

  • Assets that either spouse brought to the marriage
  • Inheritances bequeathed to only one spouse
  • Personal injury damages awarded to one spouse
  • Gifts given to one spouse only by another party

Distinguishing Marital Assets From Separate Assets

Though it is sometimes difficult to distinguish marital assets from separate property, in high-net-worth marriages it is more likely that the couple has already clarified this matter with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. 

Still, during marriage assets frequently commingle, sometimes unintentionally, creating confusion. It is also common for the resentments associated with divorce to make previous agreements seem far less agreeable. If this occurs, having a strong high-net-worth divorce attorney at your side is invaluable.

The Problem of Hidden Assets in High Net Worth Divorces

Because so much is at stake in high-net-worth divorces, it is not rare for one spouse to hide assets prior to divorce in order to prevent equitable distribution. Our attorneys are well aware of the dangers of hidden assets when it comes to being treated fairly in a divorce settlement. For this reason, we are committed to protecting our clients from this ploy, and well-schooled in uncovering it. We are adept at ferreting out assets that a dishonest spouse may have hidden using one of the following techniques:

  • Making cash purchases of expensive items, such as artwork, jewelry or vehicles, since they are easier to conceal than bank accounts or investments
  • Delaying promotions or bonuses until after the divorce so they will not have to be shared
  • Moving money into an account held in another party’s name
  • Moving money into overseas bank accounts

To protect you from such underhanded tactics, our high-net-worth attorneys will thoroughly investigate your spouse’s finances financial statements, tax documents, withdrawals from bank accounts, business accounts, and pay stubs to highlight any discrepancies. If necessary, we will also consult with expert appraisers who will assess the value of items your spouse may have purchased and attempted to hide or devalue.

Spousal Support (Alimony) in Michigan

During the last many decades, spousal support (alimony) has become less common as part of divorce agreements. Now both spouses are typically employed, many couples split up without any spousal support being paid. Nevertheless, in some cases justice requires alimony, for example if one spouse is ill or incapacitated, older and no longer earning, or unable to earn enough money without further education or training. 

Michigan offers four types of spousal support:

  • Temporary
  • Periodic
  • Permanent
  • Lump-sum 

Temporary support is intended to assist one spouse until the divorce agreement is finalized, and may be accompanied by status quo payments by the other spouse of, for example, mortgage or utility bills that the other spouse has been paying during the course of the marriage. Periodic payments are intended to provide a spouse with support until that individual receives education or training to become a decent wage earner. Permanent support is rare, but is typically awarded if one spouse is ailing or elderly. Lump sum support is simply a negotiated settlement paid upfront and is used infrequently.

Factors the court takes into account when deciding whether spousal support will be awarded include:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s income, debts and property
  • Age and physical/mental health of each spouse
  • Spouses’ contribution to the other’s education and career opportunities
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • How many dependents each spouse supports

Marital fault is not usually a factor in such considerations. The duration of alimony is generally based on the length of the marriage, one year of alimony for every three years of marriage.

Child Support Payments

Because the state views both parents as equally responsible for supporting their children, the wealthier parent is usually expected to provide support to the less affluent parent. This is true  even when both parents are of high net worth.

Contact Our Experienced High-Net-Worth Divorce Attorneys Today

Our team has a realistic understanding of the complexity of a high net worth divorce. We recognize how challenging this period is for you and your family. Contact us now to find focused, caring attorneys who will provide you with stability and peace of mind in this time of turmoil.