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TX divorce lawyerWhen considering divorce, many couples go into the property settlement process with the expectation that they will be required to parcel out certain personal possessions, decide who will retain the family home, and divide up the contents of any bank accounts. However, this task becomes much more difficult for couples with unique or costly assets, such as fine artwork, which can be difficult to appraise. Fortunately, the advent of digital valuation tools has made this process simpler, although divorcing couples are still encouraged to obtain an in-person appraisal from an expert before going forward with the property division process. To learn more about the different methods of asset appraisal available to you, please contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can advise you.

Appraisal Factors

Appraising fine art tends to be difficult, as it can actually have a number of monetary values. These values are determined primarily by assessing the market in which the work was sold or is to be offered for sale, which includes galleries, auctions, and art fairs. Appraisers then evaluate the data derived from sales of comparable items in similar galleries to determine a rough approximation of a piece’s value.

When selecting artwork with which to compare a piece, appraisers consider a variety of factors, including:

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Texas divorce lawyerMany couples who decide to get divorced have not even heard of the acceptance of benefits doctrine and so don’t know that it could play a significant role in their divorce proceedings. According to this doctrine, litigants are not permitted to accept the benefits of a property settlement and then later decide to challenge it. The only exception to this rule is when the litigant can provide proof that the ruling should be overturned due to special circumstances. This is a difficult task, so if you formerly accepted a property settlement, but later decided to challenge it, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced Round Rock high asset divorce attorney who can explain your legal options.

What Is the Acceptance of Benefits Doctrine?

Just last year, the Texas Supreme Court grappled with the acceptance of benefits doctrine in the case of Kramer v. Kastleman, which involved a couple who had signed a property settlement agreement prior to their divorce. The judge later orally approved the agreement and granted a divorce, although he didn’t issue a written decree until almost a year later. However, before the written decree was issued, the wife rescinded her earlier agreement to the settlement, arguing that her former husband coerced her signature and so committed fraud.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_property-division.jpgWhen a couple has difficulty seeing eye to eye as they begin the process of ending their marriage, it often takes an aggressive divorce attorney to step in and help address the core legal issues and ensure that the client’s best interest is protected. It is not uncommon for disagreements to arise about everything from alimony and child support to the division of assets and parenting plans.

Property Division According to What Is “Just and Right”

One area in particular that can cause problems for divorcing spouses is the ownership and division of property. Usually, courts in the state of Texas will divide property based on what they believe is best for everyone, taking into consideration the needs of the family, instead of dividing property equally.

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Texas high asset divorce attorney, Texas divorce laws, Texas complex litigation lawyer, The more assets you and your spouse have, the more complicated your divorce will be. Trying to manage the emotions as well as the future financial impact of the breakup of your marriage is a big job. Before you get too far into discussion about how to split up the property or how support should be paid, make sure you don't overlook these common issues in high-asset divorces.

IRS and Asset Transfer

In a typical divorce, the transfer of ownership of property or assets from one spouse to the other does not create a taxable event. The IRS is not going to charge you income taxes for giving your spouse title to the car in the divorce.

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Texas collaborative law attorney, Texas complex litigation lawyer, Texas divorce attorney,When asked for a quick definition of collaborative law, many attorneys may say something like "ongoing mediation." Although this synonym is not entirely inaccurate, it does not capture the essence of collaborative law nor does it explain why it is a viable alternative, at least in many cases.

To briefly summarize, collaborative lawyers work with the parties to resolve property division in a high-asset divorce, complex custody disputes, and related matters.

Structure

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Texas high-asset divorce attorney, Texas complex litigation lawyer, divorce settlement, Collaborative law is quite common in certain areas of North America, including California and Canada, but it has not gained much traction in some areas of The Lone Star State. Is this model an option for your complex divorce or other family law issue?

The Collaborative Family Law Act outlines the procedure in Texas. In a nutshell, the process is somewhat similar to ongoing mediation, with a few important distinctive qualities. The mindset is different. In traditional mediation, it is "every man for himself." The lawyers are determined to walk away with the best deal possible for their respective clients, and they care little or nothing about anyone else's interests. In collaborative law, the parties remain cognizant of how the outcome may affect other people both directly and indirectly involved in their complex divorce.

There is also a structural difference. In traditional mediation, a third-party mediator does all the negotiating, and the parties are merely interested bystanders. However, in collaborative law, the parties themselves do the negotiating.

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Texas high-asset divorce attorney, Texas complex litigation lawyer, marital estate, Section 6.711(a) of the Texas Family Code mandates that prior to entering a judgment that divides the estate of the parties," the court must enter affirmative, written findings regarding the value of the community estate's assets, as well as the value of separate assets. Subsequent case law has made it clear that there cannot be a just and right division of the estate if these findings are absent.

Real estate is difficult to value, especially in a high-asset divorce. The amount on the tax roll is usually inflated, so the taxing authority can collect additional revenue. There may be other issues as well. In some cases, the "property" may be an unimproved piece of land. Moreover, especially regarding income-producing property, the sales value may be too high or too low.

The Process

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complex accountingQuite often, asset and property division involve complex accounting measures in high-asset divorce cases.

Assume that Husband owned an investment portfolio prior to the marriage. Initially, he only contributes funds from his separate bank account. As time passes, however, both Husband and Wife begin investing money, and sometimes these funds come from a Wife's separate bank account.

Also assume that Wife owned a rental house prior to the marriage. The couple subsequently elected to take out a second mortgage on the marital residence and use the proceeds to renovate the rental property. Before the renovations, the house was essentially un-rentable and borderline uninhabitable. Since the renovations, the house has been continually occupied by a responsible tenant who pays market-rate rent.

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