Every marriage is unique, so every divorce case is inherently unique as well. Some divorcing couples manage to streamline their divorce proceedings significantly and move on with their lives with apparently little hassle, while others become embroiled in complex, emotionally charged divorce litigation proceedings for months or even years. Ultimately, there are innumerable factors that can potentially complicate any divorce case, and your divorce may include several details that significantly affect your experience with the divorce process in Tulsa, OK.
One of the issues most likely to extend the time required to complete your divorce in Tulsa is high net worth. Property division is a hotly contested issue in many Oklahoma divorce cases, and it’s natural for divorcing spouses to focus on their respective best interests and financial futures. Unfortunately, some spouses are intransigent when it comes to property division and become intensely focused on specific aspects of the property division process. When you and your spouse control substantial assets, it can be easy to fall into this trap and overlook other aspects of your divorce. Suppose you want to secure the best possible outcome to property division in a high net worth divorce in Tulsa. In that case, you need to understand how Oklahoma handles property division and best prepare yourself for it.
Understanding Equitable Distribution in Tulsa, OK, Divorces
Oklahoma upholds an equitable distribution law for property division in divorce. Unlike states that follow community property laws and require strict 50/50 division of marital assets between divorcing couples, Oklahoma’s equitable distribution law aims for what is fairest and most equitable but not necessarily equal. As a result, one divorcing spouse will likely emerge from their divorce with a larger share of marital property than the other if the court determines this arrangement is most equitable considering numerous factors, such as the education, income, debt obligations, and job prospects of each of the spouses.
An equitable distribution settlement may award a lower-earning spouse a more significant share of marital property, or a spouse who has not worked for many years may be entitled to receive alimony from the other spouse due to the contributions they’ve provided to their shared household and their marriage over the years. The length of time a marriage has lasted may also influence an equitable distribution settlement.
Reviewing Prenuptial Agreements in Oklahoma
It’s common for high-net-worth individuals to insist on prenuptial contracts when marrying. While many people hold negative preconceptions about prenuptial contracts, such as the thought that the suggestion of a prenuptial contract indicates a lack of faith in the marriage, the reality is that these agreements can provide substantial financial protection for both spouses and enable them to have difficult but necessary conversations about finances early in their marriage.
Suppose you are preparing for a high net worth divorce in Oklahoma, and you and your spouse have a prenuptial contract. In that case, your divorce could be streamlined significantly if the prenuptial contract is still legally enforceable. It’s necessary to revisit these agreements every few years as your life changes and you gain or lose assets. A formal review of your prenuptial contract will determine whether it is still enforceable and if so, you and your spouse can essentially refer to your prenuptial contract to guide your property division proceedings. The contract should include your financial rights and responsibilities, including ownership of specific assets and responsibilities for certain debts.
Financial Disclosure for High-Net-Worth Property Division
Regardless of the types of assets and properties you and your spouse own or whether you have a prenuptial contract in place, you must prepare for the financial disclosure phase of your divorce. This process entails both spouses submitting complete and accurate records of all their financial information. In addition, divorcing spouses will need to provide proof of ownership of any assets they intend to claim as separate property, and they must reconcile their respective records of marital property and assets.
It is crucial to be honest in financial disclosure. Intentionally hiding assets or failing to disclose required information can lead to severe penalties. You could face contempt of court, and the judge overseeing your divorce will look unfavorably upon you once your obfuscation has been revealed. You may also face criminal penalties for fraud if you engage in any illegal transactions in your attempts to shield assets from divorce. If you knowingly lied during any sworn statements in your divorce, you may face criminal charges for lying under oath.
Secure Reliable and Experienced Legal Counsel
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to fully prepare for a high-net-worth divorce in Tulsa is to hire an experienced family law attorney who has handled high-net-worth divorce cases successfully in the past. Beyond having substantial experience with standard divorce cases, your attorney should have extensive experience handling complex financial matters in Oklahoma divorce cases. Your attorney should demonstrate a complete understanding of the complicated financial issues your divorce entails, the types of investments and properties you control, and how your equitable distribution proceedings are likely to unfold according to Oklahoma state law.
A good attorney can guide you through the arduous process of financial disclosure in a high-net-worth divorce. When you and your spouse control substantial assets, it is not only vital to prove your ownership over those assets but also to establish a clear timeline that shows when those assets came into your control, which of you contributed to purchasing and maintaining them, and the efforts you have both made throughout your marriage toward appreciating the values of those assets.
Time is a critical factor in any divorce but is especially vital for a high-net-worth divorce case. It’s natural to want to get your divorce over with as soon as possible, but when you and your spouse own substantial assets and complex investments, these details will inherently increase the time required to complete your divorce proceedings. Once you have decided to divorce, invest the time necessary to find the right Tulsa divorce attorney to handle your legal representation. The quality of the legal counsel you secure will have a tremendous impact on the outcome of your high-net-worth divorce.