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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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TX divorce lawyerHigh asset divorces are not only complicated because the property that must be divided is valuable, but also because the assets are often difficult to value or to distribute. For instance, it is not uncommon for Texas couples to invest in local operations that are involved in the production of oil, gas, and minerals. While these investments can be extremely valuable, they are also hard to distribute in the event that a couple decides to divorce. If you or your spouse own an interest in an oil, gas, or mineral business and are thinking about dissolving your marriage, you may be facing unique issues when it comes to dividing your assets. Please contact an experienced Cedar Park high asset divorce attorney to learn more about your legal options.

Dividing Assets Equitably

Texas is a community property state, which means that all of a couple’s marital assets must be divided equitably upon divorce. While this usually involves dividing bank account funds, the family home, and retirement funds, it applies equally to unique assets, such as oil, gas, and mineral interests. These types of interests are considered real property and as such, are governed by the same property division principles as any other type of real estate. For this reason, a party can only retain sole ownership of this type of interest, if he or she can prove that the asset qualifies as separate property, which means that he or she:

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TX divorce lawyerDivorce proceedings can be time-consuming and emotional, so many couples breathe a sigh of relief when they are able to successfully negotiate a settlement out of court. Unfortunately, just because parties have agreed to a settlement, does not mean that the other party will comply with its terms. This is especially true in cases where a settlement is the result of a court order and not negotiations between the parties. A failure to abide by a settlement agreement can have devastating consequences, particularly when high assets are involved, as one party’s intransigence could lead to significant assets being tied up and made inaccessible for years. This, in turn, can make it difficult to make ends meet, pay bills, and generally, move on with your life, so if your former spouse is defying all or part of your divorce settlement agreement, it is critical to speak with an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help ensure that the terms of your agreement are respected.

The Terms of a High Asset Divorce Settlement

While some former spouses may refuse to comply with a court order out of bitterness, most are simply unable to do so. This is especially common when it comes to a failure to pay child support or alimony and the non-paying party was recently let go or fired from his or her job. Alternatively, a party could be failing to comply with a custody order because his or her work schedule conflicts with that arrangement, or because he or she is struggling with health issues. Whatever the reason, in these cases, it is up to that party to seek a modification of the order. Otherwise, they will be subject to the legal repercussions of failing to comply with the terms of a court order.

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TX divorce lawyerCouples with significant or diverse assets are often forced to grapple with legal issues that don’t apply in most divorce cases. This can make the divorce process not only more complicated, but also more acrimonious, especially when it comes to valuing the family home, so if you are thinking about filing for divorce and have substantial real estate holdings, you should consider contacting an experienced Round Rock high asset divorce attorney who can ensure that your property is appraised by a qualified expert.

Comparable Sales

For a marital estate to be fairly divided, the value of a couple’s property must be accurately assessed. When it comes to real estate, this usually means that the parties will need to hire an appraiser who can estimate value based on current market conditions and recent sales of comparable properties in the area. When dealing with especially valuable properties, the appraisal process also often includes consideration of additional features of the property in question, which could make it more valuable than other similar properties. Unfortunately, valuing the unique features of a property can be a subjective process. For example, one appraiser may include the value of a swimming pool or a four car garage, but fail to take note of marble countertops or custom kitchen appliances during the appraisal process. For this reason, most couples going through a high asset divorce are encouraged to obtain multiple appraisals to ensure that an accurate number is reached.

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Texas divorce lawyerAlthough filing for divorce is a stressful time, it is still important that those who have decided to dissolve their marriage take certain initial steps. For instance, the parties involved will still need to pay household expenses, care for children, and perhaps relocate. Failing to address these issues early on can add more tension to an already stressful situation, which is why Texas family courts are often asked to step in and issue temporary orders before any actual divorce proceedings take place. For help representing your own interests in a petition regarding temporary divorce orders, please contact one of our experienced Georgetown high asset divorce attorneys for advice.

The Importance of Temporary Orders

When a couple decides to get divorced, it is often in their best interest to request a hearing for temporary orders. As their name suggests, these types of orders aren’t necessarily the ones that will remain in place when a divorce is finalized. Instead, their purpose is to provide a quick resolution to important issues until divorce proceedings actually begin. In high asset divorce cases, these orders are especially important because they could have a significant bearing on a series of critical issues, 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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Posted on in Child Custody

Texas divorce lawyerCouples with significant assets who decide to dissolve their marriage face a host of unique issues that don’t come up in standard divorces. For instance, couples with diverse assets must often obtain appraisals for antiques, jewelry, and business interests, in addition to retirement benefits, stocks and bonds, and bank accounts. While these issues are unique to high asset divorces, there are some aspects of divorce that remain the same regardless of the amount of the parties’ assets. This is especially true in cases that involve children, as those who are not able to come to an out-of-court agreement regarding custody, parenting time, and visitation will need to place their case before the court. In these cases, judges often look to the state’s standard summer visitation schedule when making custody decisions. For an explanation of these guidelines and how they could affect your own custody arrangements, please contact an experienced Leander high asset divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Managing Conservators

In Texas, courts have a large amount of discretion when it comes to making custody arrangements. However, there is a presumption that granting parents equal time with their child is in the parties’ best interests. For this reason, many divorcing parents are deemed to be joint managing conservators, which means that they share the rights and obligations to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health, and welfare. Even in these cases, it is common for one parent to be named the managing conservator, which means that he or she would have the responsibility of deciding where the child will primarily reside. When one parent is named the managing conservator, the other will be considered to be the possessory conservator, which means that they could have 50-50 possession, standard visitation, or expanded visitation.

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Texas divorce lawyerAlthough many couples who file for divorce anticipate conflicts regarding custody or possession of a home, financial problems still catch a significant number of people off guard. Going into divorce proceedings with an understanding of the financial impact that dissolving a marriage will have is crucial, so if you are considering filing for divorce, it is important to consult with an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can walk you through your next steps.

Protecting Your Credit

There are a number of steps that divorcing couples can take to help mitigate certain types of financial problems that they might otherwise face down the road. For instance, protecting one’s credit is an important measure that is often overlooked by divorcing couples. This includes canceling any joint credit cards held in a soon to be ex-spouse’s name, which helps ensure that one party’s credit does not remain tied to the other’s spending habits. This is also a good way to start building a good credit score under your own name.

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