Handling a complex marital estate requires special expertise. Marital estates involving assets such as businesses, trusts, real estate holdings, and intellectual property often involve long-term financial and tax considerations. Seasoned professional attention is critical in these types of divorces, and our attorneys draw upon a depth of experience to ensure that our clients make well-informed decisions about resolving these complex cases.


Handling a complex marital estate requires special expertise.
In many divorces, the parties will need to determine first whether an item of property belongs to both spouses (“community property”) or individually to one spouse (“separate property”).  When a complex estate is involved, answering this ownership question and assessing other claims relating to ownership can be a complicated task. For example, a spouse may own a corporation that owns multiple subsidiary businesses.  The separate and community ownership will depend on the nature of the transactions between the companies and how and when the companies were created. Whether you are the spouse making a separate property claim or you are defending against such a claim, having an attorney with the ability to assess the nature of these assets is critical.


In most complex divorces, it is necessary to retain the services of other experts. Other experts compliment the services provided by a divorce attorney and work with the attorney to provide the client with the information necessary to resolve the divorce.  Some types of experts include:

  • Valuation Experts.  Complex estates usually require valuation of important assets, such as a closely-held business or real estate holdings.  A valuation expert can tell the parties and the court what an asset is worth, which is necessary component of resolving a divorce.  Very often, a closely-held business interest cannot be divided between two spouses, as the partnership or company agreement may prohibit ownership by anyone other than current partners or members.  The judge will have to award it to the spouse who is involved in the business. Knowing the value of such an asset is critical in that event, so that the other spouse can be awarded property or a pay-out of equivalent value.
  • Forensic Accountants. In some cases, it may be necessary to hire an expert to evaluate complex financial transactions in bank accounts, businesses, and other assets. Often, a forensic accountant is hired to “trace” a brokerage account that contains a mix of separate and community property, in order to verify the extent of separate property in an account.  A forensic accountant can also track spending and evaluate claims such as whether one spouse wasted community money.
  • Tax Experts.  Tax experts provide important advice about the consequences of property settlements in a divorce, potential tax liability, and possible tax advantages to outcomes in a divorce.
  • Other Attorneys.  Many complex divorces involve collateral legal issues, such as estate planning, trust issues, securing a property settlement, and the ownership of corporate entities after a divorce.  Involving another attorney with expertise in these areas of law can be an important component of a complex divorce settlement.
  • Financial Planners.  Many of our clients rely on financial advisors who specialize in serving high-net-worth individuals. Once a divorce is filed, one spouse may not feel comfortable continuing to work with the financial advisor who managed the parties’ money and who may have a closer relationship with the other spouse.  If a new financial advisor is needed, we can suggest professionals we trust and from whom our clients can seek financial advice without fear that the advisor’s loyalty is compromised in any way.


Dividing a complex marital estate comes with unique challenges, and experience in valuing and dividing all types of assets is crucial.    Unlike dividing a simple checking account or transferring title to a house or car, dividing the assets in a complex divorce requires attention to detail and knowing when to bring in someone with special expertise.

The attorneys at NMSB can help craft divorce agreements intelligently and creatively, addressing financial intricacies and implications that otherwise might not be fully considered.

Practice Areas
Litigated Divorce
Collaborative Divorce
Mediated Divorce
High-Value Estates
Parenting Plans
Special Needs Children
Premarital Agreements
Postmarital Agreements
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