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TX divorce lawyerWhile most people assume that one of the most difficult aspects of divorce is coming up with a child custody arrangement that meets the needs of all parties or learning to co-parent with one’s former spouse, the reality is that dividing marital property is actually one of the most time-consuming aspects of any divorce. This is especially true for high asset divorces, where couples have significant, diverse, or unique assets that are difficult to inventory, appraise, and divide. Furthermore, while not all divorcing couples have children, most will have at least some assets that need to be divided before a divorce can be finalized. For this reason, it is critical for those who are considering divorce, to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can explain the property division process and ensure that their rights and interests are protected.

What Is Equitable Division?

Texas is a community property state, which means that all of a couple’s marital, or community property, must be divided equitably upon divorce. While in many cases, this could take the form of an equal division, it could also result in one spouse receiving more assets than the other, especially if one of the spouses is receiving alimony. Assets that often fall under the category of marital property include:

  • The family home;
  • Real estate;
  • Vacation properties;
  • Retirement plans and benefits;
  • Vehicles;
  • Jewelry;
  • Antiques;
  • Artwork;
  • Personal possessions;
  • Bank accounts; and
  • Investments.

While dividing a couple’s bank accounts equally between two parties may be a relatively simple feat, dividing other assets, such as vehicles and personal belongings is much more difficult. When it comes to selling the family home, for instance, couples are usually required to engage in a complex process that involves:

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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.

Vacation Homes as Community Property

Under these rules, whether a couple’s vacation home needs to be divided upon divorce would depend on when it was purchased. If it was acquired during the marriage, both parties would have rights to a share in the property. This could take the form of one spouse retaining sole ownership of the family home, while the other took up residence in the vacation home. Alternatively, the couple could decide to sell the property and divide the proceeds.

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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.

Failing to Fully Investigate Assets

Failing to disclose assets to a spouse is not always done intentionally. In fact, many divorcing couples accidentally fail to disclose assets, properties, and debts because they did not hire an expert to investigate their finances. Taking this step is extremely important, especially for spouses who were not primary earners or who have less knowledge about the family’s financial holdings, as it ensures that any settlement agreements will be fair and equitable. Maintaining an inventory of all of one’s assets is also a good idea and can give financial advisors a better understanding of where certain assets are held, as well as their approximate value.

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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 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 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 divorce lawyerDivorce can be expensive, especially for couples who have accumulated significant assets or are high wage earners. Fortunately, there are steps that divorcing parties can take to reduce their costs and increase the odds of reaching an amicable and fair settlement. To learn more about preparing for a high net worth divorce, please contact a Georgetown high asset divorce lawyer today.

Evaluating Your Financial Situation by Identifying All Marital Assets

Almost any type of property that has value can be considered an asset when it comes to dissolving a marriage, so divorcing couples should keep this in mind when listing all property and debts and include not only real estate, vehicles, and business interests, but also:

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TX divorce lawyerAlthough in many cases it is impossible for divorcing couples to work out their issues in an out of court setting, a large percentage of families are able to come to an agreement regarding custody or property division through mediation. The benefits of mediation are even more important in high asset divorces where the possession of unique assets, such as business interests, valuable personal possessions, and real estate are at issue. To learn more about mediation and whether it is right for you, please contact one of our dedicated high asset divorce lawyers today.

The Mediation Process

The mediation process is overseen by a neutral third party, or mediator, who is tasked with hearing the parties’ issues and concerns and then facilitating negotiation, with the final goal of reaching a settlement that both parties voluntarily agree to. Although the parties will prepare for mediation as though they were going to trial by compiling financial records, lists of assets, and appraisals, the similarities end here, as mediations are non-adversarial. Furthermore, unlike a trial, communications that take place during mediation will remain confidential. In fact, if a mediation fails, mediators are not allowed to testify about anything that was discussed during the meetings at trial.

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