The disease of addiction does not stereotype or profile and can happen to anyone, regardless of education level, family values, social standing, or your net worth. It’s always a gut-wrenching process when addiction in the marriage contributes to divorce. When it involves a couple with considerable assets, the process will inevitably be more complicated.
Atlanta divorce attorney Pete Chambers, who specializes in high net worth divorces complicated by addiction/alcoholism and codependency, has a proven track record of ensuring that his client exits the marriage with the financial resources they need with child support and safe parenting schedules in place.
“I’ve personally experienced the struggles, trauma, and pain caused by addiction and codependency,” shared Chambers. “My goal when representing clients is to ensure their needs are addressed aggressively, yet with compassion for the disease and its byproducts.”
Challenges of High Net Worth Divorces and Addiction
Helping couples separate their finances is among the top priorities for high net worth divorces. When addiction is involved, there can be a tendency for one spouse to want to punish the other for the pain, and possible financial impact, the addiction has had on the marriage.
“Each spouse must recognize their own contribution in the dysfunction and chaos,” said Chambers. “While it may temporarily feel good to want to punish your spouse, acknowledging and doing work on your own codependency is vital to separating the marriage with as little animosity and being as healthy as possible.”
Your attorney can help develop an equitable plan that preserves as much wealth as possible while also placing protections to ensure child safety and future security of assets.
With high-quality representation, most high-net-worth divorce issues complicated by addiction and codependency can be resolved in a way that satisfies both parties.
Asset Valuation and Hidden Assets
Dividing assets is stressful for any couple, but high-asset divorces can escalate that stress to an entirely new level. Extensive knowledge of Georgia divorce law is always important especially when considering division of assets.
Understanding the complexity of assets is vital to adequately prepare for a high net worth divorce. These can include:
- Real estate holdings, including primary residences, vacation homes, rental properties, REITs, and other investment properties
- Business interests, including ownership or partnership in companies and professional practices
- Investment portfolios, including stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds, and other securities
- Retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, IRAs, and pensions
- Personal property of significant value, such as jewelry, artwork, collectibles, and vehicles
- Inherited funds and property
High net worth divorces often require the expertise of financial professionals in addition to legal representation to find hidden assets. This may include forensic accountants, appraisers, and financial advisors who can help you and your attorney accurately value assets and fight for a fair division.
When addiction is involved, there may be hidden accounts that helped fund the disease or assets may need to be set aside to support in-patient or out-patient treatment.
Selling assets to divide wealth during a divorce can result in substantial capital gains taxes. Couples may also find the division of retirement accounts can result in unforeseen tax implications, unless they are handled properly to avoid tax consequences, penalties, or interest. Your attorney should have a deep understanding of these potential tax implications so he or she can help protect your assets. Ultimately advice regarding tax consequences and implications should come from a forensic accountant or CPA employed by your attorney to ensure you are accurately protected, since an attorney is not a CPA.
In high net worth divorces, spousal support can become a contentious issue quickly. If both spouses in a high-net-worth divorce make substantial incomes, this issue may be easy to resolve.
But when one spouse is financially dependent on the other, alimony may be warranted even if the higher-earning spouse feels they are not obligated to provide for an ex-spouse.
Prenuptial agreements may also play a role when at least one spouse has significant assets prior to the marriage. However, prenuptial agreements may not always be upheld. Commingled assets defined in the prenup may be considered community property under Georgia law. Or the court may determine the prenuptial agreement is grossly unfair to one spouse making it unenforceable.
Having a tough, but fair attorney who understands these challenges can make all the difference in your final settlement.
Child support for young children, which is determined by the court using state guidelines, will depend on having a full financial picture of the couple’s assets and all income sources. The court will look to ensure your children’s basic needs of food, housing, clothing, and health care are provided for after the divorce.
In high net worth divorces, the court may also take into consideration private education, day care or nanny services, tutoring or special educational expenses, and lifestyle options like summer camps or extracurricular sports and activities.
Of note, when its clear parents are hiding income or earning potential to avoid their child support obligation, judges may calculate support based on what the parent could reasonably be earning, their income earning potential, or by an income average of the last few years of reported income.
Depending on the age of children involved in a high-asset divorce, you may need your attorney’s or financial advisors’ guidance to create a trust fund (or revise an existing one) based on division of assets.
When addiction is a factor, the court may also require ongoing safeguards to protect funds set aside for child support as well as address your child’s safety as it relates to child custody and parenting schedules.
High net worth couples may no longer be able to maintain their former luxurious lifestyles after divorce, and when addiction is involved, a change in lifestyle may be essential to recovery. This can play a role in determining asset distribution, division of property, and determination of spousal support. To preserve their overall quality of life, couples may make choices to retain certain assets. Your attorney can help you understand the implications.
Hiring an Attorney Knowledge About High Net Worth and Addiction
Finding a trusted Atlanta divorce attorney experienced in the challenges of high net worth divorces complicated by addiction can be essential to protecting your assets. It is vital to work with a family law specialist who understands the sensitive and intricate nature high asset divorces present.
Pete Chambers has significant knowledge and extensive personal and professional experience regarding high net worth divorces complicated by addiction and codependency. He has intimately navigated the toxic intersection where the diseases of addiction and codependency collide with the complexities of significant wealth.
Regardless of whether you are the addict/alcoholic or the codependent, Chambers Family Law represents each client with the awareness, knowledge, understanding, and compassion that only personal experience can provide.
Addiction is a chronic, destructive, and potentially fatal disease that impacts not only the life of the addict/alcoholic, but also the lives of their spouses and children.
Our clients are treated with dignity and compassion throughout their family law crisis, and we support their efforts to find recovery from addiction or codependency.
No matter what your prior journey has been, we will address your issues with the utmost privacy, without judgement and with compassion and understanding.
What Should You Do Now?
Now is the time to protect your assets to ensure alimony, child support, parenting schedules, and child custody are addressed.
If your situation is also complicated by a high-net worth financial picture complicated by addiction, your attorney needs to be skilled and prepared to protect you and your children’s future economic stability.
Chambers Family Law attorneys are experienced and equipped to successfully provide non-judgmental, compassionate, and invaluable assistance when high-value assets and business interests are involved in your divorce. Speak to a Chambers Family Law attorney right now at 404-795-5090.