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TX divorce lawyerDivorcing couples with unique, diverse, or especially valuable assets face a host of unique issues. For instance, many high asset divorces require couples to decide the fate of multiple properties, including not only the family home but also vacation homes and investment properties. This can be a complicated process, so if you are going through a divorce and have been unable to come to an agreement about who will retain ownership of one or more vacation properties, it is important to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who will aggressively represent your interests, whether during negotiations or in the courtroom.

How Are Assets Categorized During Divorce in Texas?

Texas is a community property state, which means that only assets that were acquired during a marriage must be divided in the event of divorce. When it comes to real estate, this is true regardless of whose name is on a title or deed. Unlike community assets, separate property is any property that was owned by either spouse before the marriage took place. The only exceptions to these rule apply in cases of inheritance, in which case, a person’s assets can be considered separate property even if they were acquired during the marriage.

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TX divorce lawyerThere is a lot at stake for any couple going through a divorce. This is especially true for those who own significant or diverse assets, so if you want to ensure that your own divorce goes as smoothly as possible, you should strongly consider contacting a Leander high asset divorce attorney who can ensure that your filings and disclosures are all made properly and on time.

Hiding Assets

One of the worst mistakes that a person can make when going through a high asset divorce is to try and hide assets from one’s spouse. Not only could this type of conduct lead to an unfair property settlement, but if a court discovers that one of the parties was dishonest when disclosing their financial holdings and debts, it could hold that individual in contempt or require that he or she turn over a larger portion of assets to the other party.

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TX divorce lawyerWhile there are a number of benefits to going into business with other partners, there are also a few drawbacks. For instance, if one partner’s marriage ends, the interests of any other business partners could also be at risk. This is because Texas law requires all divorcing couples to divide their marital property, which includes business assets, equitably. When this happens, the business partner’s ex-spouse could become a shareholder in the business as well, which means that he or she could have a say in how the company operates. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this type of division, so if you have ownership in a business and are dissolving your marriage, or one of your business partners has filed for divorce, please contact our high asset divorce legal team to learn more about your options.

How to Protect Your Business Interests During Divorce

A business partner’s divorce can have important implications for the ownership interests of other partners and shareholders, so it is important for those who own an interest in a business to take certain steps to prevent disruption. For instance, including a contingency for divorce in a business’ ownership, partnership, or shareholder agreement is one of the best ways to protect a business in the event of divorce. These provisions can require a partner’s ex-spouse to sell a business interest that he or she was awarded in any property division settlements following divorce, back to the company itself. It’s important to note that when drafting this type of provision, the parties should ensure that it contains specific terms and conditions for valuing and purchasing the shares. Failing to take these precautions can have serious repercussions down the road, leading to complicated and expensive litigation, which can put a company at risk.

It’s also a good idea to have the spouses of all partners agree to the divorce contingency in writing before any marital discord actually arises, which can help bolster the enforceability of the contract in the event of divorce. Finally, many business partners are strongly encouraged to enter into a prenuptial agreement before getting married, in which, they can specify that business interests remain separate property, even in the event of divorce. Separate property, unlike marital property, remains in the sole possession of the original owner, unless it becomes commingled with marital assets to a significant degree.

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TX divorce lawyerAll Texas divorces must be conducted in compliance with state law. However, this doesn’t mean that all divorces are the same. High asset divorces, in particular, come with unique issues. For this reason, it is especially important for those with significant, unique, or diverse assets who have decided to dissolve their marriages, to retain an experienced high asset divorce attorney who is well-versed in these issues and can ensure that their interests and rights are protected.

Financial Complication

One of the most difficult parts of the divorce process is deciding how assets will be divided. This is especially true for those with significant assets who don’t have a prenuptial agreement, as the process of identifying, appraising, and attempting to divide property is much more complex. In these cases, it is not uncommon for couples to have rare or unique property, such as real estate, antiques, artwork, and jewelry, that is both difficult to appraise and divide. It is also much easier in these situations for one spouse to try to hide specific assets, which is both unlawful and could result in an unfair property settlement agreement.

Emotional Implications

Even when a couple has an amicable relationship, going through a divorce is stressful. In many cases, these high emotions are only fueled in high asset divorces, as there is simply more to fight over. It’s also not uncommon for one spouse to have more knowledge of finances and property ownership, in which case, the other party could end up with an unfair settlement if the more financially knowledgeable spouse failed to disclose the ownership of certain property. This, in turn, can make the divorce process even more emotional for the wronged party.

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TX divorce lawyerMany parents make an effort to diligently put away money in a 529 college savings account each month for their children’s higher education. However, these accounts, like any other asset, are divisible upon divorce, which means that they could be put in jeopardy, so if you have a college savings account for your child and have questions about its fate in the event of divorce, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help ensure that your child’s future is protected.

What Are 529 Savings Plans?

Also known as qualified tuition plans, 529 savings plans are tax-advantaged plans that are sponsored by the state and that help families save for future education costs. There are two main types of 529 plans: prepaid tuition plans and education savings plans. The former allows account holders to purchase credits or units at specific colleges and universities to cover future tuition and fees for a beneficiary at current prices. Education savings plans, on the other hand, allow account holders to save for a beneficiary’s tuition and mandatory fees, but also room and board. Funds from these types of accounts can be used at any college or university.

College Savings and Divorce

While a couple may have invested in a 529 college savings plan for their children, those assets are still considered to be marital property until the beneficiary actually enters college. This means that the contents of a college savings plan are eligible for distribution between two spouses upon divorce. While both parties could theoretically continue to place funds in the account after the divorce is finalized before turning it over to their children, this isn’t a guarantee, as some spouses value higher education more than others. In some cases, an account holder could remarry and have more children, at which point, he or she may want to use some of the funds in the account for those beneficiaries as well.

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TX divorce lawyerWhether an agreement is reached in an out-of-court setting through negotiation, or as the result of litigation and a court order, the terms of any finalized divorce decree must be followed. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for one of the parties to refuse to comply with certain terms, especially in regards to property division. In these situations, courts can step in and enforce a property settlement following divorce, so if your former spouse is refusing to comply with a court order by failing to turn over certain assets, it is critical to retain an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help you seek a request for relief from the court.

Enforcing a Temporary Property Division Order

During many divorces, the parties are required to address temporary property-related issues while the divorce is pending, such as: who will retain the family home, who will be responsible for paying certain bills and expenses, and who will cover debts, such as loans, credit cards, and lease payments. To address these matters, a court may issue a temporary order that has some or all of the following effects:

  • Restrains one spouse from damaging or selling certain property;
  • Requires an inventory and appraisal of all community and separate property;
  • Prohibits the parties from wasting marital assets; and
  • Assigns responsibility for certain household expenses and childcare costs.

These temporary orders play a critical role in helping spouses resolve certain issues during divorce, but also provide the grounds for an enforcement action if one spouse fails to comply with the terms. Temporary orders are as legally binding as final orders, so when one party fails to abide by their terms, the court can intervene by transferring liability, ordering eviction, foreclosure, or wage garnishment, or holding the non-compliant party in contempt.

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TX high asset divorce lawyerIn Texas, assets acquired during a marriage are subject to equitable division upon divorce. Whether a couple is able to reach a divorce settlement on their own in an out-of-court setting, or a court orders property division after the parties’ litigate the issue, a divorce will only be officially granted when an arrangement has been reached. In most divorce cases, all property-related issues are resolved by the time the court issues a divorce decree. However, it is also not uncommon for one party to discover, after a divorce has already been finalized, that his or her former spouse was hiding assets in an effort to retain sole possession. Concealing assets during divorce is unlawful, so parties who determine that they were unfairly denied an equitable portion of a specific asset can ask the court to step in and distribute the previously undivided property. This can be a difficult endeavor, so if you recently discovered that your former spouse was hiding assets during your divorce proceedings, it is critical to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help you collect your rightful share of your marital property.

Dividing Assets

During divorce proceedings, courts require couples to provide evidence of all of their different assets, including titles, deeds, bank statements, and receipts for collectibles like artwork or antiques. Providing this documentation helps give courts a good idea of each party’s financial holdings, which in turn, enables them to fairly and justly divide those assets between the parties. Obviously, a fair distribution of marital assets isn’t possible if one of the parties, or the court, is unaware that certain property exists. For this reason, when a party later learns that a former spouse was concealing assets, courts allow them to file a new lawsuit requesting distribution of the remaining undivided property.

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TX high asset divorce lawyerIn Texas, most assets acquired by a person before he or she entered into a marriage will remain in that individual’s sole possession in the event of divorce. In fact, even some assets obtained during a marriage can qualify as separate property, including gifts, inheritances, and personal injury awards. There are, however, certain situations where assets that were clearly acquired prior to marriage are actually considered by the courts to be marital property, and so, are also divisible upon divorce.

In most cases, this occurs when there is evidence of commingling, which is a term used to describe the mixing of separate assets with marital property. When this occurs, the original owner will most likely have to share the asset with his or her soon to be ex-spouse. This can be a significant financial burden, so if you are concerned about the fate of some of your own property, you should strongly consider contacting a high asset divorce lawyer who can advise you.

Did I Commingle My Assets?

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The Law Offices of William D. Powers

8911 N. Capital of Texas Highway, Building 2, Suite 2105, Austin, TX 78759