When a marriage comes to an end, there are a host of different issues that need to be resolved before the divorce is official. Divorce issues are much more complicated for wealthy individuals in the spotlight, like professional athletes and entertainers. To ensure child custody, visitation, and property division terms are resolved fairly and efficiently, anyone going through a high-asset divorce should hire a seasoned divorce lawyer who has experience working with high-profile clients.
When successful entertainers, entrepreneurs, and professional athletes separate, the process is more complex than the average divorce for a few reasons. Athletes and entertainers’ careers are not typical. Unlike the person who receives a regular paycheck every other week, their income is not always consistent. The career of a pro athlete can be relatively brief and unpredictable. For golfers, tennis players, and other athletes who play on an individual basis, their future income depends largely on the success of their last game or match.
Pro athletes who play for teams are subject to the terms of their contracts. What they earn in their prime is not guaranteed for the duration of their career. Many athletes and entertainers earn income in a variety of ways, such as endorsements, performance bonuses, and incentive clauses. All of these assets must be accounted for during the divorce.
Child Support and Alimony Demands are Greater in High-Asset Divorces
Famous athletes tend to have substantial child support and alimony obligations after divorce. In New Jersey and most other states, alimony or spousal support is calculated based on a wide range of factors, including how long the marriage lasted and the earning potential of each.
Child support is another intricate calculation based on different factors, including the child’s financial needs and the ability of each parent to provide for them. It is common in high asset divorces for the athlete, professional, or entertainer to pay thousands of dollars a month for child support and spousal support.
The career of a pro athlete can be shorter compared to other professions. High alimony demands that make sense while the player is at their peak may not be practical long-term. Skilled legal representation is critical at this stage to ensure family members are provided for in a way that is fair for all.
Custody and Visitation Terms
Research shows that children who have healthy connections with both parents after divorce are more likely to thrive. However, finding that time is more challenging for professional athletes and entertainers who spend much of their time on the road, travelling from one city to the next for games and events. Ideally, both parties are willing and able to work together to build those connections.
Divorced parents who want to be a consistent presence in their child’s life and support them emotionally and financially should never stop fighting for their parental rights. In New Jersey and most states, family court operates always with the focus on the best interests of the child above all else. Parents who cannot agree may need assistance to settle custody, child support, and other matters. That can happen through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or in family court.
Keeping Divorce Private
Most people in the public eye want to keep the intimate details of their divorce private. Their image is part of their brand, and their brand is the key to earning an income. Tarnishing that image with custody battles or allegations of marital misconduct is not wise. A high-asset divorce lawyer has several legal tools at their disposal to resolve these matters professionally and discreetly.
Many well-known athletes and entertainers opt to settle divorce-related issues through lawyer-assisted negotiation. During this process, both spouses and their legal representatives meet together to discuss divorce variables, engaging in back-and-forth discussions until both parties agree to the specific terms of custody, support, and property division. While lawyer-assisted negotiation is not always quick or easy, when it works, it allows couples to keep their financial arrangements and other details confidential.
What is ADR?
ADR offers divorcing couples other means of settling conflicts out of court when lawyer-assisted negotiation is not feasible. Listed below are a few different ADR options used in New Jersey divorce cases:
Mediation: Mediation utilizes a mutually agreed upon mediator who acts as an objective third-party to help divorcing couples resolve their issues. Each spouse consults with their respective lawyer before and after each stage of the mediation process.
Collaboration: Couples who want a more transparent process with more lawyer involvement during negotiation can choose collaborative law. In this scenario, each spouse signs a Collaborative Law Participation Agreement, pledging to be completely honest while earnestly working toward a peaceful resolution. Both parties and their lawyers meet together throughout this process.
Arbitration: Arbitration is the last option available for couples with more contentious relationships who are having trouble resolving divorce issues through mediation or collaboration. Couples submit their divorce matters to a single arbitrator, panel, or multiple arbitrators. While most arbitrators will hear from experts and review evidence, the overall process is less formal than what happens in a courtroom. After reviewing the case, the arbitrator issues a legally-binding decision on all terms, which is then entered into the final divorce agreement.
Each of these methods help divorcing spouses protect the privacy of children and keep sensitive financial information private and confidential.
What is a Post-Nuptial Agreement?
A post-nuptial agreement can be entered into at any point during the marriage. The agreement is used to establish expectations of both spouses and might include financial penalties for violating those terms. In the case of a well-known athlete or other celebrity, the post-nuptial agreement may prohibit social media posts about the divorce or releasing private financial details to the public.
In New Jersey, the following elements must exist for the post-nuptial agreement to be valid:
- Terms are fair and equitable.
- No coercion or duress involved.
- Full disclosure by both spouses.
- Each spouse has independent representation.
Can I Have My Court Records Sealed for Privacy?
Some divorces involving famous people make the news. Many of these stories talk about how many millions of dollars are at stake when the couple splits. It makes sense that most public figures want these details excluded from public record. In this case, the client and their lawyer must make a case for why the divorced person’s desire for privacy outweighs public interest. It is not easy to get court records sealed, but with skilled legal representation, the chance of confidentiality is much more likely.
A high-asset divorce has its own unique concerns and challenges that only a lawyer can manage. When researching legal representation, look for a legal team with a proven record of success.
Morristown Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Provide Professional and Discreet Legal Representation for Clients with High-Asset Divorces
If you have a high-asset divorce case, a Morristown divorce lawyer at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can handle the legal matters with discretion. We understand how high-asset divorces are often more complicated, and we can help you with your case. Call us at 908-575-9777 or complete our online form for an initial consultation. Located in Morristown and Somerville, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.