High-Profile Divorce Attorney in North Carolina
In most cases, divorce is a complex and emotionally difficult process. It is made even more difficult when the divorcing spouses are prominent and there are public reputations at stake.
As the Raleigh-Durham area grows in wealth and national stature, the Triangle has become home to a growing number of celebrities and high-profile personalities in the fields of entertainment, sports, business, politics and other fields. The drama of a high-profile, public divorce can lead to gossip, unwanted news coverage, and speculation that can be personally hurtful as well as cause long-term damage to reputations and, in some cases, livelihoods.
Even individuals not widely recognized by the public who are undergoing separation and divorce can face scandal within circles where they are leaders, such as at churches and other houses of worship, local corporations, local government, civic groups, or country clubs.
Charles R. Ullman & Associates, a divorce and family law firm in Raleigh, NC, has the legal experience and resources to assist you if your divorce has the potential of catching the public eye and generating publicity. Our attorneys and staff will seek to protect your reputation during the dissolution of your marriage. We can work to head off intrusions into your privacy.
Charles Ullman is a board-certified family law specialist, a trained collaborative law attorney and a practicing family law arbitrator. He and the experienced Raleigh divorce attorneys from our firm can ensure that you are armed with detailed information and a strategy aligned with your desired outcomes. Call us today at (919) 829-1006 or use our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation at our office in the historic Wyatt House in downtown Raleigh or at another location you prefer.
What is a High-Profile Divorce?
When we speak of high-profile divorce, we are referring to a legal separation and divorce of prominent individuals that could capture outside attention, which in most cases would be unwanted and potentially injurious to either or both spouses and possibly others.
Beyond damaging the reputation of a prominent individual or a celebrity, the details of a high-profile divorce might cause a CEO’s board of trustees to lose faith in his or her leadership or reflect poorly on a public official’s character and cost him or her a position. Scandal surrounding a high-profile divorce could cause either or both spouses to be ostracized from any number of associations because of private matters unnecessarily becoming public.
Public intrusion and exploitation of a high-profile divorce can cause lasting financial harm as well as stress and psychological pain. This harm can spread beyond the estranged spouses to children and other family members, as well as business and personal associates.
In a contentious divorce, one spouse might seek the spotlight or surreptitiously leak information to hurt the other, particularly if they do not have a public profile that can be tarnished. Even among a high-profile couple, one spouse may choose to assume the role of the aggrieved member of the pair and welcome the media into their divorce and private lives.
Whether invited or not, once the media or other talkers have focused on your divorce, having representation that can protect your reputation, your wealth and your assets is crucial. We may be able to present valid reasons to convince the court to keep your divorce records sealed or take an approach aimed at keeping the details of a high profile divorce private.
Mediation Preferred in a High-Profile Divorce
As your divorce attorneys, our first allegiance will always be to your desires for a divorce settlement and to protecting you from public speculation and denigration if your separation and divorce are thrust into the public. Our objective is a strategic resolution that protects your assets and wealth in the immediate aftermath of your divorce and for the years ahead.
In a high-profile divorce, it is best for all concerned if you and your spouse can craft a separation agreement through mediation. With mediation, your case only goes to court to obtain the final divorce order, and the details of the dissolution of your marriage remain private.
A mediator acts as a neutral third party to help the divorcing couple come to an agreement as they work through issues that must be resolved to end a marriage, such as:
- Distribution of marital assets
- Division of debts
- Payment of child support
- Child custody
- Child visitation
- Payment of spousal support.
After successful mediation, we can help you prepare a separation agreement containing the agreed-upon terms of your divorce. Following a year of legal separation, we can help you file with the court for a final divorce decree.
A family law mediator does not decide who is right and wrong. Instead, a mediator remains neutral and facilitates negotiations between two people who would likely have difficulty working things out on their own. Sessions are meant to be non-adversarial and to allow each spouse the opportunity to present his or her side of the story.
A mediator helps the couple move beyond conflict and focus on how they will interact as a divorced couple. This is especially important when children are involved and can help a high-profile couple ready themselves for their new public status.
Protecting a Client from the Public During a High-Profile Divorce
If your divorce were to become a public issue, we would help you maintain control of the narrative. We can help you develop statements for the press and social media regarding your separation or divorce, if necessary. If you are in a position that might require you to publicly address the status of your relationship in person, we would coach you on keeping your statements succinct, nonconfrontational and on-message.
In an amicable divorce, we would work with your spouse’s counsel to help you maintain a united front. It is beneficial if public statements about a high-profile couple’s pending divorce are made jointly or, at the least, with a common message.
In a contentious divorce, we can help you craft responses to negative public statements should they occur, reach out to safeguard you from further attacks, and rebuild trust in you and your brand.
We can also refer you to counseling services to help you and your family develop coping strategies for the scrutiny brought on by this difficult situation.
When a High-Profile Divorce Becomes Contentious
Our legal team at Charles R. Ullman & Associates understands the realities of a contested divorce and that the highly emotional legal, financial and personal issues surrounding divorce can turn combative.
Ending your marriage puts you at financial risk, particularly if you are a high-profile individual with significant assets. It is crucial that you are represented by an experienced and knowledgeable attorney dedicated to protecting your rights and interests as you pursue separation and divorce.
In a contentious divorce, there are steps you can take to protect yourself financially, which the attorneys of Charles R. Ullman & Associates can help you pursue. These steps concern developing a complete picture of the ownership status and value of all of your household and business property, regardless of whether it will eventually be considered marital property or separate property belonging to you or your spouse.
Some steps to take right away to protect yourself in a contentious divorce include:
- Having all valuable personal property professionally appraised.
- Securing documentation of ownership of intangible assets, such as intellectual property, patents, royalties.
- Obtaining proof for any property inherited or received as a gift.
- Securing any valuable personal property that belongs to you.
- Withdrawing and securing half of any joint bank accounts. Do not remove more than half.
- Canceling all jointly owned credit cards.
- Changing the beneficiary on insurance, pension and/or other transferable accounts.
It is not unusual in a contested divorce of a high-asset couple to find that one spouse has hidden assets to keep existence of the additional wealth out of support negotiations or business valuations and/or to avoid splitting them with their estranged spouse.
When necessary, we work with experts who can uncover hidden assets and illegal transfers of money, including forensic accountants, tax specialists and business valuation experts. Experts we engage to investigate our clients’ estranged spouses provide us with reports that we can use as we negotiate separation agreements. If necessary, our consultants will testify as expert witnesses for a divorce contested in court.
If your spouse is found to have concealed assets during a divorce, the presiding judge can order sanctions, such as requiring them to pay your legal fees, or can alter asset division or spousal support agreements.
Contact Our Experienced Raleigh, NC, Divorce Attorneys
The divorce attorneys of Charles R. Ullman & Associates provide compassionate and discreet legal services for individuals considering separation and divorce in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle area. High-profile clients in North Carolina turn to Charles Ullman & Associates for trusted guidance about matters related to separation and divorce.
Charles R. Ullman & Associates offers more than 20 years of hands-on experience helping clients successfully negotiate separation, divorce, equitable division of property and all marital assets, and related domestic issues. Charles Ullman is certified by the North Carolina Bar as a Specialist in Family Law, a designation indicating he has additional training in this area of law. Only a small portion of lawyers who handle divorces in North Carolina are board-certified specialists. Contact us online today or phone (919) 829-1006 to schedule a confidential discussion of your needs as you consider separation and divorce.