High Asset / High Income Divorce


At the Santa Clara family law office of Thomas E. Bouman, Attorney at Law, we frequently represent individuals with high asset levels and/or high incomes – or spouses of high-income individuals. When one or both spouses have high asset levels or high incomes, all divorce-related issues become exponentially more complex.

Whether you earn a high income yourself or are married to a high-income earner, you should seek advice from an experienced California divorce lawyer who has significant experience with all the issues that arise in high-asset divorce cases.

Attorney Thomas E. Bouman is a seasoned divorce lawyer with more than 25 years’ experience representing both husbands and wives in divorce cases across Northern and Central California. Our law firm focuses nearly exclusively on family law cases, which gives us the ability to stay abreast of subtle changes in the laws that we can use for our clients’ benefit. Contact the law office of Thomas E. Bouman to schedule a phone consultation.

How will retirement funds be divided? What if my spouse wasted marital assets?

Some of the issues we must address in high-income divorce cases include:

  • Spousal support: If one spouse has no income or assets, a temporary spousal support order is almost a certainty. Also, spouses should be aware that long-term or permanent spousal support calculations are based on the standard of living during the marriage. If your ex-spouse strikes it rich after the divorce, the family law court won’t entertain a motion to increase spousal support payments beyond the marital standard of living.
  • Assignment of attorneys’ fees: If one spouse has little or no income or assets, the divorce court may require the other spouse to pay attorneys’ fees, including a temporary order for payment of partial fees so the non-earning spouse may obtain competent legal representation from the outset of the case.
  • Property division: The date of separation becomes critically important to determine when certain types of assets revert to separate property from community or marital property. This is especially true with investment accounts and pensions, which will continue to grow in value during the divorce proceedings. This question is related to the investigative accounting work that must be done to trace all of the property to determine whether it is community property or separate property.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty: Spouses must use due care when managing marital assets. In high-asset divorces, accusations of mismanagement of marital funds are commonly made and must be defended against.
  • Division of family businesses: What portion of a family-owned business will be granted to each spouse? What if you owned a business before the marriage began? Will your spouse get any share of the business’ growth? How will business valuation be handled? These are examples of the complex questions that must be asked when closely held or family businesses are included in the marital assets.

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Early legal advice is always important in a divorce case. When one or both spouses have high asset levels or high incomes, early legal advice and active divorce planning are even more important.

To get answers to your questions and a complete explanation of your options during a divorce, consult Santa Clara divorce attorney Thomas E. Bouman. Contact our office to make an appointment.