Executive divorces are unique in several respects. Good divorce lawyers who are experienced in handling such family law matters know about this and handle such cases with a modified approach.
A. Executive divorces require expert witnesses early in the case
Most executives are either self employed or have an income structure that is different than the average W2 wage earner. For this reason, our divorce lawyers retain an experienced forensic accountant early in the case to determine the cash flow and income that will be necessary for determination of, as applicable to an individual case, child support, spousal support and attorney’s fees.
B. Executive divorces require a marital balance sheet
All divorce lawyers know that a schedule of assets and debts and an income and expense declaration are mandatory components of every divorce case, no matter how small or large. Since executive divorces are generally more complex in the estate financial structure, preparation of the schedule must be done early on and is typically preceded with the preparation of a marital balance sheet. A marital balance sheet only only identifies the asset but states the value of the asset, any separate or community property claims to the asset, proposed division and reimbursement claims that exist. This marital balance sheet is then used to ensure the mandatory disclosures are done properly.
C. Executive divorces require the early resolution of custody issues
Executives have busy schedules. Our divorce lawyers understand that and also know you only have a certain level of control over your schedule. As a result, how much time an executive spends with the children can vary from week to week and month to month. That is why it is important that custody issues be resolved quickly and efficiently. As divorces are litigated, there is sometimes bitterness and anger that creeps into both spouse’s emotions. Such emotions can affect how custody is handled because children are sometimes used as leverage. That is why executives need custody orders (and preferably a custody judgment) early on in the case – to avoid gamesmanship.
D. Executive divorces need predictability regarding attorney’s fees
Executives don’t have the luxury of just worrying about their own lawyer’s fees. Odds are pretty high that an executive’s spouse, unless he or she makes a similar income, will ask for his or her attorney’s fees to be paid too. Planning and preparing for this is critical. Our divorce lawyers will speak with you about the following issues:
1. Your exposure, if any, to an attorney fee request and order
2. What offers should be made, if any, on this issue
3. What community property funds exist that can be divided, in whole or in part, to avoid an attorney fee request against your income
4. What settlement offers should be made early on regarding issues that should settle to avoid your spouse’s lawyer from unnecessarily driving up attorney fees
E. Executives must beware of lawyers who will attempt to churn their divorce file and run up lawyer’s fees
Here is an unfortunate fact. There are lawyers and law firms out there who claim to have your best interest at heart but really care far more about the billing on your case. These lawyers and law firms know who they are and have a well earned reputation for causing unnecessary litigation to run up fees and costs. Beware of such lawyers and law firms.
Beware of any lawyer that tells you that litigation is the only option or that you should litigate to break your spouse. California law is set up to protect the lesser earning spouse. If your spouse has a good attorney, these churning and unnecessary litigation tactics will blow up in your face in many ways, including significant attorney fee awards against you. Picking your battles is the key. Accurate and complete disclosures are a must.
Do you want proof? Contact us and we will show you California appellate court decisions that have punished the higher earner for such tactics. Family courts rely on these decisions.
You don’t need to engage in these tactics to get a good and fair result on your case. Our divorce lawyers will show you that.
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