high asset divorce Archives

Prenups are rarely ironclad

Robert De Niro is famous for his long and celebrated acting career thanks to such films as “Raging Bull,” “The Deer Hunter” and “Meet the Fockers.” Despite his fame, De Niro closely guards his privacy, so he is likely not happy that his wife of 20 years (1997-1999 and 2004-2019) is dragging their divorce through the press. De Niro’s attorney argues that the wife signed a prenup that entitles her to $500,000 in cash, $1 million in maintenance, a $6 million apartment as well as half the value of the couple’s New York City marital residence.

The do's and don'ts of marital property

Property division can be a serious point of contention when couples get divorced. Here in New York, marital property is divided in a fair and equitable manner while an individual's separate property remains theirs wholly. The wrinkle is that couples who bring their separate assets into the marriage often end up commingling them, which turns that house your spouse moved into or that car loan that was paid from a joint account into marital assets that are to be divided.

Using cryptocurrency to hide cash

Digital currencies or cryptocurrency have been around since 2009, with Bitcoin being the most popular of a pool that includes thousands of others. While they have surged in popularity, critics worry about the unregulated nature of these markets. Essentially cash stored in the digital format that lives online and is traded on an encrypted blockchain, the concept is a simple one that can nonetheless be challenging to value or divide during divorce, and very tempting to use for hiding money.

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos file for divorce

News of Jeff and MacKenzie’s split ricocheted around the internet last January. Worth an estimated $137 billion, the world’s richest couple split up after 25 years of marriage. To the surprise of many, there was no prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. The couple’s home state of Washington dictates that marital assets are divided 50-50 under the community law rule, so MacKenzie stood to get half of the Amazon CEO’s stock, ownership of the Washington Post as well as land and other assets.

World's richest couple did not have a prenup

News of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos's amicable divorce took the internet by storm when they made the announcement early in 2019. Media outlets picked up on the story of the Amazon CEO's impending divorce with even President Trump weighed in. The reason was the $137.1 billion estate that the couple would split in half under the community property rule in Washington State. New York follows a fair and equitable distribution of assets, which may better reflect the contribution each party made to the financial well being of the marriage. As it stands, MacKenzie's share adds up to an estimated $66 billion.

Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders freeze the estate

Restraining orders have an ominous sound to them because of the association with assault and physical or psychological abuse. However, New York State and others utilize s (ATROS) when a couple files for divorce. The general premise is to have the couple put their financials in a holding pattern while the details of the divorce are addressed.

Professor who attempted to hide assets sentenced

A University of Minnesota professor made national news in September when he was convicted of providing his wife with several forged papers as part of their divorce. These documents reduced the stated size of their retirement account from the actual amount of $891,116 to $745,012. He omitted the fact that there was a second retirement account. All told, the wife would have lost about $353,649 if she had not notified the police that he was providing false numbers.

College professor convicted of trying to hide retirement funds

Part of the process of filing for divorce is creating a list of marital and individual assets. Ideally, the spouses and their lawyers can look at the list and draft a fair and equitable arrangement. While it may be tempting for one side to try to withhold "their money" because "they earned it," it is a mistake that cause a serious problems for those who are caught.

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