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  • High net worth divorce

Things to Avoid in a High Net Worth Divorce

In a high net worth divorce, the list of assets is so large that divorcing couples find they agree on dividing some things, but not on others, and neither wants to budge. Stress is high when large amounts of money, property, businesses, assets and other items are at stake. The divorcing party can be very emotional and often feels betrayed, angry, aggrieved, disappointed and might let these emotions influence their decisions.

These factors create a recipe for mistakes on both sides of the divorce, which have long-term effects on both spouses and/or their children. Here are a few things to avoid during a high net worth divorce:

• Guilt: When a spouse wants a divorce, they are bound to feel guilt for the other, despite justification. The spouse feeling guilt tends to give more money than hey should. When it comes to financial assets, decisions should be made similar to dissolution of a business rather than with emotions.

• Agreeing to anything to be out of the divorce: A spouse filing due to domestic/physical violence, or being in love with someone else is willing to do anything to be away from their current spouse. It is important to have a thorough analysis because this can lead to damaging effects on you financially.

• Failing to account for, or hiding assets: It is common to want to hide or transfer assets in a high net worth divorce. Transferring valuable assets to another person, such as, a business partner, will be seen as fraudulent and you will lose credibility in court. It is important to take the research process seriously for the law mandates the financial documents you find.

• Listening to non-professionals: During difficult life changing experiences, we often seek council from the people closest to us. While that might be good for your emotions, it may not be the best legal and financial advise you can get. Everyone’s experience is different and in a high net worth divorce, protecting your financial assets is key. Seeking professional guidance in the specific areas or getting a team together is a step in the right direction. Keep in mind that laws change and every judge is different.

These are only a few mistakes made in high net worth divorces, most all of which can be prevented when you hire a good divorce attorney.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group to help you protect your net worth in a divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.

  • divorce and designated beneficiaries

Divorce and Designated Beneficiaries

Married couples typically name their spouse as the beneficiary on their company 401(k) plan, individual retirement plans, annuities, life insurance policies and other accounts with designated beneficiaries. It’s important to keep in mind that a divorce does not automatically change all your designated beneficiaries. The best way to avoid potential problems in the future is to make a note to update your beneficiaries after your divorce is final.

There is so much going on during a divorce that one of the easiest mistakes to make is to forget to update the beneficiary information on all accounts. The result of which is often realized too late, when years later a family member is told that your ex-spouse will receive all assets from a retirement or pension account.

In the case of a life insurance policy, remember that the divorce judgment itself does not automatically cancel a spouse’s right as the beneficiary. To remove the ex-spouse as the beneficiary, the insurance company may require the spouse’s consent or a clearly worded divorce judgment stating who owns the insurance policy, who shall be the beneficiary, or who has the right to designate the beneficiary.

If you are currently in divorce proceedings, you have to wait until the divorce is final to make changes. However, immediately after the divorce is final you are free to make changes and it is in your best interest to make those changes sooner rather than later.

If you are unsure whether or not you want to update your beneficiary designation, you should set a reminder in your calendar for one year later to remind you to revisit the issue and make changes if you need to.

Contact Brett Thorsteinson, your trusted divorce and family law attorney to help you with your divorce. Brett listens to your needs and works diligently to protect your interests.

  • Forensic accountant in a divorce

Benefits of a Forensic Accountant in a Divorce

Using a forensic accountant can assist the filing spouse in revealing essential information during the preparation stage of the divorce. The accountant can also help provide vital divorce documentation once the divorce process starts. Some forensic accounting services include calculating how much money is available for alimony payments and child support, trace community assets and liabilities, and uncover hidden assets and income streams.

When to use a forensic accountant

Typically forensic accountants are brought on to the divorce team which includes a divorce attorney and depending on the case, a private investigator.

In a collaborative divorce, the accountant acts as a “neutral advisor” who provides the divorcing couple with unbiased financial advice. However, a forensic accountant can benefit the spouses regardless of the type of divorce.

Some benefits include

• Identify and Clarify any inconsistencies between financial information and documentation to determine whether or not the other spouse is hiding assets
• Validate financial information with non-financial information.
• Calculate the cash flow, which may be used in calculating support payments
• Assist your attorney in preparing document requests of the other party, preparation of subpoenas, contacts with computer forensics and other professionals, and deposition or trial questions to be asked of the other party’s forensic accountant.
• Testify and provide input in court or at depositions and during the settlement process.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group , your trusted divorce lawyer to help you with your California divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.

  • Huntington Beach Divorce

Using a Forensic Accountant in Divorce

Using a forensic accountant can assist the filing spouse in revealing essential information during the preparation stage of the divorce. The accountant can also help provide vital divorce documentation once the divorce process starts. Some forensic accounting services include calculating how much money is available for alimony payments and child support, trace community assets and liabilities, and uncover hidden assets and income streams.It is helpful and beneficial to gain assistance from this type of expert.

Typically forensic accountants are brought on to the divorce team which includes a divorce attorney and depending on the case, a private investigator. This team of experts can be extremely helpful in an non-collaborative or uncontested divorce. Even in a collaborative divorce, a forensic accountant can assist by acting as a “neutral advisor” who provides the divorcing couple with unbiased financial advice. However, a forensic accountant can benefit the spouses regardless of the type of divorce.

Some benefits include:
• Identify and clarify any inconsistencies between financial information and documentation to determine whether or not the other spouse is hiding assets
• Validate financial information with non-financial information.
• Calculate the cash flow, which may be used in calculating support payments
• Assist your attorney in preparing document requests of the other party, preparation of subpoenas, contacts with computer forensics and other professionals, and deposition or trial questions to be asked of the other party’s forensic accountant.
• Testify and provide input in court or at depositions and during the settlement process.

Having a forensic accountant paired with your family divorce lawyer would be an asset to your divorce process team. Non-expert advice always is comforting, but leave it to the experts to get you the best legal advice to help you in the long run.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group , your trusted Huntington Beach divorce lawyer to help you with your California divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.

  • Military Divorce, Long beach divorce

Military Divorce Eligibility of Former Spouse for Pension

A former spouse is eligible to receive direct payments from a retiree’s retired pay if the court order pleases the requirements and conditions specified for such payment. In the case of a division of property, the court order specifically must provide that payment is to be made from disposable retired pay. Disposable retired pay is a service member’s monthly retired pay minus qualified deductions.

To establish eligibility for a court-ordered division of retired pay as property, the former spouse must have been married to the member for 10 years or more during which time the member performed 10 years creditable service. Court-ordered payments for child support and/or alimony do not require a specified length of marriage.
In 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that military retired pay could not be treated as community property in divorce cases. In response, Congress enacted the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) which decreed that state courts could treat military retired pay as property in divorce cases if they so choose. For the service member, it is important to know the options when considering division of retired pay in a military divorce.

There are four potential options when bearing in mind a division of retired pay:
• Stated dollar amount: When expressing the award using a dollar figure, the Former Spouse is not afforded a COLA adjustment and the member would receive that portion added to their portion of the retired pay.
• A percentage amount: This method is not usually used when you don’t know the exact date of retirement, due to un-matured pension
• Coverture fraction formula: The most common way to divide a Military pension that has not yet matured would be through the use of a marriage coverture fraction formula. This formula simply divides the number of years of creditable service during marriage (numerator), into the total number of years of creditable service at the time the Member would retire (denominator). The payment of an amount of retired pay must be expressed in dollars or as a percentage or fraction of disposable retired pay
• Delayed order option: A deferred percentage is simply placing an order with the Military today, but leaving the calculation and conclusion, open. This is so when the member applies for retired pay, all the parties would be notified and a “clarifying court order” would then be required.

Each has its own advantage and/or disadvantage to you and/or your former spouse. It is important to know how each method effects your financial situation and even more important to get the best legal advice to clarify any confusion in your options.

If you have specific questions or need help with your military divorce, contact Thorsteinson Law Group, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney.

Military Retirement and Pension in a Divorce

Military assets are divisible in the case of divorce just like any other asset in a California divorce, provided the court has jurisdiction over the proceedings. It’s important for couples going through a military divorce to have a good understanding of how California divorce courts handle the division.

In 1982, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) was passed by Congress which gave state courts the ability to choose how or whether to divide military assets in a divorce, legal separation, or annulment.

In order to divide military assets the court has to have the authority to do so from the military spouse’s consent or the fact that the spouse is a legal resident in a California. A military member being stationed in California does not mean they are a resident and therefore does not automatically grant consent. However, the court is allowed to reasonably assume consent from both spouses in the divorce proceedings.

California divorce courts can divide a service member’s military retirement as long as the court has jurisdiction. This authority is not limited by the length of a marriage.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group  in Long Beach or Huntington Beach to help you with your divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.  Brett Thorsteinson is a divorce lawyer who will advocate for your rights.

Pension and Divorce

A pension is an investment fund to which a person, or their employer has contributed during their working life and is received as payments during that person’s retirement. During the years of employment, monetary contributions are made to a retirement plan, and once retired it because a “pension”; basically a tax deferred savings plan. In a California divorce, the rules relating to the division of pensions are complicated. Generally speaking, a pension earned during marriage is considered to be a joint asset of both husband and wife.

If a pension is divided between divorcing spouses, it must generally be done at the time of divorce when other marital assets are divided. However, if you were to withdrawal money earl from a pension or retirement account, there can be extreme tax repercussions. However, there are federal provisions that help spouses to divide these retirement plans and avoid tax penalties.
The legal tool most commonly used is called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). It allows a state court to split any qualifying benefit plan or pension plan between spouses. Most retirement plans will pay pension benefits directly to divorced spouses if the domestic relations order meets certain requirements.

In some situations spouses choose not to use a QDRO and instead evaluate a pension plan or 401(k) plan to determine it’s value based on it’s holdings on a given date. For some types of plans, however, experts are necessary as complex calculations involving life expectancy and the rate of return of the plan’s assets are used to arrive at the current evaluation.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group in Long Beach or Huntington Beach to help you with your divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process. Brett Thorsteinson is a divorce lawyer who will advocate for your rights.