If you have a high net worth or more assets than are typically divided in a divorce, your separation may pose many unique issues. While most divorces involve a house and cars, high net worth divorces go beyond the typical assets. You may have investment portfolios, off shores accounts, multiple properties, and other valuable assets that must be divided.
It’s best to work with a high asset divorce attorney who understands your situation and can use Texas divorce laws to your benefit.
Here are 10 of the most important things you need to know about high asset divorces in Texas.
1. It Can Take Longer to Get a High Asset Divorce
While a typical divorce can take anywhere from six months to two years, divorces involving more assets can take even longer. It can take time to discover all of the assets that must be considered in a high asset divorce – especially those that a party might be trying to hide. You can’t rush the process in a high net worth divorce. Instead, allow your lawyer to go through the process calmly while you focus on moving forward with life.
2. Spouses Often Try to Hide Assets
Division of assets and liabilities is typically one of the most contested issues in high net worth divorces. However, you must be honest about all your assets. If either party attempts to hide assets, the court will look negatively on their actions throughout the remainder of the case. Instead, present a strong argument for why specific assets should be reserved for you. You can also negotiate possession with your ex in exchange for something they may want to keep.
3. You Are Entitled to a “Just and Right” Division of Community Property
In Texas, all property possessed by spouses during or upon dissolution of the marriage is considered community property. Community property is owned equally by both parties during the marriage. However, property does not necessarily have to be divided equally. The court will divide community property in a “just and right” manner. Your divorce lawyer can help you present arguments regarding the way in which your assets should be split.
4. Businesses Are Often Considered Community Property
Many spouses contribute to a family business to help it develop over time. When both parties have worked to grow a business, it is considered community property. Division of a business can be complicated and requires valuation, which often requires the assistance of financial experts. The interests of both spouses will be considered in the division of property.
5. There Are Special Child Support Considerations for High Earners
If you make a significant amount of income, then you may make more than Texas child support guidelines consider. There are special child support statutes that apply to high-earning individuals in Texas. In some circumstances, an individual may be ordered to pay more than the guidelines specify. However, the parent with primary physical custody must prove that your child’s needs are greater than the amount indicated in the statute. A high asset divorce lawyer can help you determine how much child support is fair in your specific situation.
6. Alimony Will Consider All of the Payor’s Income
People with higher-than-average earnings often have multiple streams of income. This can make it difficult to determine a fair amount of alimony (also called “spousal maintenance”). In fact, some spouses aren’t even aware of all the sources of their partner’s earnings. An alimony lawyer can help you identify which earnings should be considered and how much alimony should be awarded.
7. Prenuptial Agreements Are Not Always Upheld
If you decide to divorce your spouse and have a prenuptial agreement, you might think you already know how things will play out. However, prenuptial agreements are not always upheld. In some cases, certain clauses may not be relevant, or the judge may believe duress or fraud was involved. If you signed a prenuptial agreement and are now looking at divorce, you need to discuss your marital contract with a divorce attorney.
8. The Court Has the Discretion to Decide Some Assets Cannot Be Divided
In Texas, all community property is subject to “just and right” division during a divorce. That does not mean that every item must be valued, sold, and split evenly. If you acquired valuable art, jewelry, or other items during your marriage, the court may grant you ownership of those assets while your ex gets other property. The court’s goal is to split things in an equitable manner, not necessarily equally.
9. You Can Keep Sensitive Information Private During a Divorce
While a divorce is made public, the details of your sensitive information may be kept separately from the public case file. For example, your financial statements can be redacted or otherwise hidden so that the information is not readily available to anyone looking up your divorce. You should be careful what you include in pleadings and other legal documents filed with the court. Make sure you request redacted information when necessary.
10. How Can I Pay For a Divorce Attorney If My Spouse Closes Our Joint Accounts?
The money you and your spouse earn during the marriage is considered community property. If that money goes into a joint account, then you both have access to it. One manipulative tactic a spouse may use is to take money out of joint accounts and close them. If this happens to you, you can request relief from the court to get your equitable portion of that money back. You can pay your legal fees out of marital property accounts.
It’s Important to Work with a High Asset Divorce Lawyer
If you are facing a divorce with more assets than many others have, then you have much at stake. You don’t want to lose everything due to a misunderstanding. The Law Office of Ben Carrasco PLLC is here to guide you through this process. Call our high asset divorce lawyer today or contact us online to schedule a consultation.