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High Net Worth Divorce in New South Wales: What You Need to Know

Are you thinking of getting a divorce? Do you need an experienced professional to help you as your household income is larger than $250,000 a year or your total net worth is over $2.5 million combined? You’ll need someone more specific than a general divorce solicitor.

In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know when considering divorcing high-net-worth individuals.

High net worth divorce is a complex and often contentious issue that can be difficult to navigate. In Australia, a high net-worth divorce is defined as one where the total property of both parties is worth more than $2.5 million, including the value of the family home, and where the couple is earning more than $250,000 per year. Such divorces often involve significant assets, including businesses, investments, and real estate, and can take longer to resolve than other types of divorce.

When a high net-worth divorce occurs, the division of property and assets can be a significant challenge. This is particularly true when one or both parties have substantial assets that are difficult to value or divide.  In other aspects, these types of divorces may involve complex tax issues, including the treatment of alimony payments and property transfers.

As a result, it is important for anyone going through a high net-worth divorce to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney who can help them navigate the process and achieve the best possible outcome.


When a couple with substantial assets decides to end their marriage, it is referred to as a high net-worth divorce. These types of divorces can be complex and often require the assistance of experienced lawyers to ensure the best possible outcomes for both parties involved.

What is High Net Worth Divorce?

High net worth divorce is a legal process that involves ending a marriage between two individuals who have a significant amount of assets.

In Australia, a high net worth divorce is one where the total property of both parties is worth more than $2.5 million, and the couple earns more than $250,000 per year.

Why is High Net Worth Divorce Different?

High net-worth divorces are different from regular divorces in several ways. But to put it simply, there is a lot at stake, and the financial implications for both parties can be considerable.

There are other sides to the story that make a divorce within a high-income or wealthy family difficult, including the added complexity of proceedings and the amount of time it takes due to the number of assets that can be involved.

What’s important to know is that the outcomes of high net-worth divorces can be unpredictable, particularly if the case ends up in court where mechanical calculations that might occur in other types of cases do not apply. This is why it will always be advised to consult an experienced divorce solicitor who specialises in these types of cases – as they’ll be aware of the complexities at hand and are able to guide you through the process, ensuring your end result is fair and equitable.

Factors that Affect High Net Worth Divorce

Several factors can influence the outcome of a high net-worth divorce. These include:

  • The value of the assets involved
  • The length of the marriage
  • The number of children involved
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage
  • The contributions made by each spouse to the marriage, including non-financial contributions such as caring for children or managing the household

What’s notably interesting about the factors that affect divorce is not all of the contributions have to be financial. Some spouses who stop working in order to care for their children are still able to claim a percentage of the family assets – as they manage the household.

Property Division

As we’ve stated, the division of assets can be particularly complicated when there are substantial assets involved. In this section, we’ll discuss how property is divided in high net-worth divorce, the valuation of assets, business valuation, and tax implications.

How is Property Divided in High Net Worth Divorce?

In New South Wales, Australia, the Family Law Courts encourage parties to apply for a divorce online. The Court has the ability to make property division in relation to married couples and de-facto couples.

The Court will first determine the net value of the property pool and then assess the contributions of each party. Contributions can be financial or non-financial and can include many of the factors listed previously.

The Court will then consider the future needs of each party, such as their earning capacity, income, and health. They will also consider any other relevant factors, such as the standard of living of the parties, the duration of the marriage, and the nature of the assets.

Valuation of Assets

Assets that may need to be valued include real estate, shares, investments, businesses, and superannuation. The Court may appoint an expert valuer to value the assets. The valuer will consider various factors, including the current market value of the asset, any liabilities associated with the asset, and any potential for future growth.

Business Valuation

In addition to asset valuation, the Court will also consider various factors that affect the valuation of a business, including the profitability of the business, the value of the assets of the business, and any liabilities associated with the business.

As with the valuation of assets, the Court may also appoint an external valuer to consider the business.

Tax Implications

Tax is the dreaded word that comes at the end of each year, but it must always be paid on time and accurately to avoid penalties. As with property, the transfer of assets between parties may have tax consequences – it’s a bit like the transfer of money between accounts – it has to be accounted for. Instead of thinking of the transfer of a house or business, consider it as the transfer of the value of that property or business – this money needs to be considered by the tax system.  It is important to seek advice from a tax professional to ensure that any transfer of assets is done in a tax-effective manner.

Need to consult a specialist on your high net-worth divorce? Or perhaps you’re not sure of the process. Talk to one of our experienced solicitors to guide you through the process and decide the next steps.

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