Divorce for those with High Net Worth or Complex Issues

Divorces involving high net worth individuals and complex financial and legal issues require skilled attorneys with the experience and knowledge to navigate the unique challenges presented by these cases. A divorce that includes a substantial amount of assets, a family-owned businesses, large estates, or real property assets owned by one party before the marriage are generally considered to be complex.

Deciding if you want to get divorced can make you uneasy and the process may feel impossible if there are complex issues or a large estate to dissolve. In any event, it is advisable to consult with an attorney to understand your rights and options. Consulting with a divorce attorney before you have made any major decisions can save you time and money in the long run. Timing is crucial in a divorce case and the failure to seek the advice of counsel early in the process could drastically affect the outcome of your case.

Our firm specializes in complex divorces and our partners each have over 20+ years of experience litigating or settling divorce cases involving high net worth individuals. We retain appraisers, experts, forensic accountants and the like to value and investigate the entire marital estate. Our team is comfortable with the nuances associated with these cases and is well-versed in working with other experts to ensure the best possible results for our clients.

Our attorneys will assist you in navigating the issues of property division, spousal or child support, and child custody and visitation.  We can also help you with prenuptial or postnuptial agreements so that you may avoid a costly and stressful divorce in the event of a separation between you and your partner down the road.

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If you want to file for divorce in Nevada, you or your spouse must reside in Nevada for the six (6) weeks leading up until the filing of the Complaint for Divorce. The court may ask you or your spouse to prove your residency with corroborating documentation as well.

This six (6) week requirement is often exploited by individuals from other states with stricter divorce laws. It is not unusual for an individual to come to Nevada and set up a sham residence in an attempt to meet the residency requirements to obtain a divorce. For these reasons, Nevada courts will often scrutinize the residency requirements more than other state courts might.

If such jurisdictional conflicts exist, it is crucial that you consult with an attorney immediately. Failure to raise jurisdictional objections prior to responding to a Complaint for Divorce, or appearing in court, may result in you being subject to the jurisdiction of the court regardless of these jurisdictional defenses.

Jones & LoBello will advise you in advance as to the potential pitfalls and perils that you face, and will utilize our years of experience in the field of Family Law to protect both your assets and interest.

Grounds for Divorce

Nevada is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that it is immaterial what or who caused the divorce.  The party requesting divorce only needs to claim that they no longer get along with their partner based on “irreconcilable differences.”

There are other grounds for divorce, like insanity, that are not used very often. A judge is almost certain to grant a divorce if you simply claim that you can no longer live together as a married couple and that there is no chance of reconciliation.

For these reasons, we encourage our clients to focus their energies on other areas, rather than focusing on establishing blame for the failed marriage. Once clients re-focus their energy, the legal and financial matters can be addressed effectively.

Filing for Divorce

If you decide to file for divorce, you must file the Complaint for Divorce with the district court. There are two ways to petition for a divorce, and both require a court filing.

If you and your spouse agree on everything in your divorce, you can file for a divorce together by filing a joint petition for divorce. Joint petitions don't typically need to appear before a judge, are far less costly, and are approved rather quickly.

Should you and your spouse have any disagreement on any terms of the divorce, either of you may file a Complaint for Divorce. The first person to file is the “Plaintiff.” If you are responding to a complaint that has been filed, you will be the “Defendant.” There are advantages and disadvantages to being the Plaintiff. If you file a Complaint, your spouse will have the opportunity to file an answer and counterclaim to anything you filed. Alternatively, if your spouse filed first, you will have the opportunity to respond.

If the Defendant fails to respond to the Complaint, the divorce will be considered uncontested, even if only one of you signed the divorce papers.

Related article: 9 Noteworthy Divorce Laws in Nevada

Alimony (Spousal Support)

There is no set formula for alimony in Nevada. The court’s decision regarding alimony is discretionary, so, at the beginning of a case, it is difficult to give specific answers as to what the monthly spousal support amount might be.  There are a number of different factors for the court to consider and there are also varying tendencies among the individual judges in the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Generally, a marriage of five years or more in which one party earns significantly more than the other will result in an alimony award. The amount and the duration depend on the judge as well a number of other factors, such as the following:

  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The standard of living shared by the parties during the marriage;
  • The income and earning ability (skills, education, age, certifications) of each party and
  • Each party’s need or ability to pay support.

While courts often order alimony to be paid, it is important to keep in mind that a court is more inclined to award appropriate alimony to someone who is making good faith efforts to contribute toward their own financial needs.  See NRS125.210.  Those who are trying to “game” the system will often be left with a rude awakening if they try to do so in a blatant or bad faith manner.

If you have questions regarding whether or not alimony would be awarded in and the potential amount anticipated in your case, our attorneys can advise you based on their experience with similar cases.  Alimony, more so than any other area of family law, is an area that requires the experience of an attorney to give you appropriate, realistic and reasonable advice unique to your individual case.

Related article: Modification of Alimony in Nevada: Law and Reality 

Business Valuation

An often overlooked asset of any marriage is an ownership interest in a business. Because a business generates to its owners a stream of income that will continue into the indefinite future, they are often times a far more substantial asset than either of the parties to a divorce anticipate. The value of a business is far more than merely the sum of its parts. We understand the complexities of business and have a network of experts to help in this highly specialized area.

How much will my divorce cost?

The cost of your divorce is going to depend on and is affected by many factors. The average divorce cost in the United States is between $10,000 and $20,000, but there can be a wide variation on this figure depending on the circumstances of an individual case. This average is just an estimate—every divorce presents its own unique set of challenges and difficulties.

The more agreement you and your spouse have on how to end the marriage when it comes dividing assets and sharing child custody (if applicable), the less contentious and costly the divorce will be. Spouses who cannot agree, or marriages where there are a lot of assets or difficult custody issues, will almost always incur larger divorce bills.

High Net Worth Divorce - Alimony | Pexels: Anthony Shkraba

It all comes down to how much time you and your spouse are going to require from your respective attorneys to resolve the divorce. There are ways to reduce your costs and fees in any divorce, and it is important to discuss your entire financial situation transparently with our attorneys to ensure the most cost-efficient outcome for you. In some cases, it may make sense to compromise with another party as the fees saved by doing so would be greater than any reward you could have received by proceeding and even winning in court.

By having a full picture of your finances, our attorneys will be better positioned to advise you in terms of what is best for you on a personal and financial level.


Our Attorney Team