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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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Posted on in Spousal Support

Texas divorce lawyerLate last year, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which made significant changes to the deductibility of alimony payments. The recent amendments could have a serious impact on Texas couples who finalize their divorces next year, so if you are considering filing for divorce, it is critical to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can explain the legal ramifications that the new law could have on your own divorce.

Alimony Basics

Except in specific circumstances, the amount of alimony that a former spouse can receive in Texas is capped at:

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Posted on in Complex Property Litigation

Texas divorce lawyerCouples with high assets face a number of unique issues that other divorcing couples do not. This is largely due to the fact that these individuals have a variety of different assets that must be identified, valued, and then divided. In many cases, this also means that the parties own multiple pieces of real estate, including vacation homes, as well as rental properties, which in turn, raises a host of issues.

For instance, both parties may wish to remain in possession of a single property, or one party may wish to sell it and divide the proceeds. However, before these decisions can even be made, the parties will need to obtain an accurate valuation. This can also be a difficult process, as there are a variety of different ways to value property, making it especially important for those who own real estate and are going through a divorce to speak with an experienced Round Rock high asset divorce attorney who can ensure that their property is properly evaluated.

Real Estate Appraisal

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b2ap3_thumbnail_QDRO.jpgMany high asset divorces require the division of substantial retirement funds, which in Texas, usually involves the issuance of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). These orders, which are issued by a judge, essentially separate and transfer retirement plans between two parties. In fact, the issuance of a QDRO is often necessary before an employer’s pension plan administrator will even agree to divide a retirement account. QDROs contain valuable information, including how the account will be utilized going forward and how its contents will be divided. If you have retirement benefits that were at least partially accumulated during your marriage, you may need to divide those funds with your ex-spouse upon divorce. To learn more about this process, please contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can address your questions and concerns.

Dividing Retirement Funds

A party’s retirement funds are not always divisible upon divorce, as courts will usually only order equitable division if funds were accumulated during the marriage itself. Although it depends on the type of account, this means that the retirement funds will either pay out on a regular basis in the future or will be available for withdrawal at the parties’ discretion. It’s also important to note that the only funds that will be subject to division are those that accumulated during the marriage. Funds that accrued prior to the marriage will remain the sole property of the named participant.

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Texas divorce lawyerAlthough going through a divorce usually tends to be an emotional and complex process regardless of a couple’s finances, those with significant assets are faced with unique problems. For instance, many high assets couples have multiple sources of income, including investments, stocks and bonds, and stakes in businesses, as well as a wide variety of valuable assets ranging from paintings and antiques to automobiles and real estate. In these situations, recording and inventorying all of a couple’s assets can be difficult, especially if one of the spouses is attempting to hide assets. In high asset divorces, it is much easier for a spouse to get away with this type of conduct, so if you are considering divorce and are concerned that your spouse has begun to hide assets, please contact a Round Rock high asset divorce attorney who can assess your financial situation and ensure that your interests are protected.

Distributing Assets

Texas is a community property state, which means that assets acquired by a couple during their marriage must be divided equitably upon divorce. There are a few exceptions to this rule, which apply in cases where one party received an inheritance or gift during the marriage. However, even in these situations, the parties could be required to divide the assets if they were later commingled with marital property owned by both parties. Furthermore, each party is permitted to retain sole ownership over all assets obtained prior to the marriage.

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Posted on in High Asset Divorce

Texas divorce lawTexas law requires that divorcing couples divide their property in an equitable manner. However, this rule only applies to marital property, as separate property will remain under the sole ownership of the original holder. Inheritances, for example, are considered the separate property of the person to whom they were bequeathed, even if they were given to one spouse during a marriage. In some cases, it is still possible for another party to retain a portion of one spouse’s inheritance, so if you were given a valuable gift or inherited property from a loved one during your marriage and you are now going through a divorce, please consider speaking with a high asset divorce attorney who can help you protect your assets.

Separate Property

Under Texas law there are three types of assets that qualify as separate property:

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Texas high asset divorce attorney, Texas complex divorce lawyerOne of the most contentious issues faced by many couples going through a divorce is who will retain ownership of the family home. Texas is a community property state, which means that all assets acquired by a couple during their marriage must be divided equitably upon divorce. The family home falls under this category as well, which means that if a couple is unable to come to an agreement outside of court, a judge will need to devise an equitable arrangement. Property division is a complicated legal issue, which can be made even more complex by the emotionally charged nature of many divorces, so if you are considering a divorce and have concerns about property division, it is important to contact an experienced complex divorce attorney who can explain your options.

Community Property

All property acquired during a marriage will need to be divided during a divorce, including:

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Texas divorce attorney, Texas family law attorneyIn Texas, courts can order spousal maintenance if a party can establish that he or she lacks the ability to provide for his or her reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability. Demonstrating a disability for the purposes of receiving maintenance can be difficult, so if you are considering a divorce and have questions about your eligibility to receive alimony, it is critical to contact an experienced complex divorce attorney who can explain your rights and legal responsibilities.

Establishing Disability

Before a court will award spousal maintenance based on disability, the party seeking alimony must first provide evidence of a physical or mental disability. This does not necessarily require the submission of medical evidence. Instead, a party can demonstrate his or her condition through circumstantial evidence and the testimony of witnesses. For instance, when attempting to establish disability, courts will take into consideration a series of factors that can be deduced through testimony, including whether the party seeking maintenance has attempted to secure employment in the past or is currently receiving any form of income. Providing this type of evidence is often necessary to demonstrating a link between the party’s disability and his or her inability to sustain employment. Without this link, courts are often reluctant to order payment of spousal maintenance based on disability.

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The Law Offices of William D. Powers

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