High-Asset Divorces Can Have Unique Complications – We Can Help
When a married couple decides to legally part ways, untangling the spouses’ assets is often complicated and contentious. The law requires each partner to come out of the divorce with an equitable portion of the couple’s joint property. Disputes around whether property belongs to an individual spouse or is a marital asset are common, especially when the couple has a high net worth and a considerable dollar value is at stake.
Unfortunately, many spouses in this situation might try to hide or undervalue assets to cheat their partners out of their fair shares. In other cases, a spouse might try to claim a portion of a trust or other asset that is the personal property of the other spouse.
If you have decided to leave your marriage and you and your spouse have a significant net worth, talk to one of our proactive Houston high-asset divorce lawyers as early in the process as possible. Our driven divorce attorneys at Angela Faye Brown & Associates can take appropriate measures to ensure that the settlement is fair.
Texas Community Property Explained
According to Texas Family Code § 3.003, all property that either spouse possesses during the marriage or at the time of dissolution is presumed to be marital property, also called community property. Divorcing spouses are not entitled to equal shares of their marital assets. Instead, the split of community property must be fair under the circumstances.
When couples divorce, they can either agree to a split of the marital property or a judge will divide it in a way they deem fair. The factors that a judge considers when distributing marital assets include:
- Which party, if any, is at fault for the marriage’s failure
- Duration of the marriage
- Marital debt
- Which spouse has greater earning power, considering education, work history, age, health and other relevant factors
- Whether one spouse will have more child care responsibilities than the other
- Value of the property that each spouse brought into the marriage
- Any attempt to hide or devalue marital assets
- Tax implications for each spouse
- Whether a spouse or child has a long-term or permanent disability or other special needs
High net worth couples often have complex finances. Our well-versed attorneys ensure that all assets acquired by either party during the marriage are accounted for and apportioned equitably. They also work to protect any personal property from claims by the spouse.
The Law Protects Individual Property In A Divorce To A Degree
The law presumes that assets an individual possesses while married are community assets. However, it also recognizes that people often enter a marriage with their own property. Divorcing spouses have no right to claim a portion of their partner’s individual property.
In general, individual property includes everything the spouse owned at the time of marriage, in addition to inheritances, gifts and money received as proceeds from a personal injury lawsuit. However, in many circumstances, individual property could be treated like joint property. A knowledgeable divorce attorney like one of ours can advise you on how a judge in Houston is likely to view specific assets.
For example, perhaps a spouse is claiming the full value of an inheritance as an individual asset. If the couple used part of the money to improve the home they bought together, the contributing spouse cannot claim that portion of their inheritance as an individual asset. In addition, the increase in the home’s value resulting from the renovation is a joint asset, even though one partner’s money funded the improvements.
Establishing Rights To Assets In Houston High Net Worth Divorces
Divorces between partners who enjoyed a privileged lifestyle while together can be bitter. The partner who came into the marriage with more money can try to persuade a court that some marital assets are theirs alone. The party with fewer financial resources might try to claim a portion of assets that belong to their spouse.
An attorney experienced in handling divorces among high net worth couples is skilled in protecting your rights, whether that means protecting individual assets from a predatory spouse or securing a fair share of community property. Using forensic accountants, real estate and personal property appraisers, actuaries, economists and other experts, a seasoned advocate can ensure a divorce settlement reflects an equitable split.
Speak With Our Attorneys About Your High-Asset Divorce
Divorce is a wrenching thing to go through regardless of the circumstances. It can be especially traumatizing when your spouse uses unfair tactics to deprive you of funds and property that are rightfully yours.
Our Houston high-asset divorce lawyers offer the deep knowledge and tactical skills that you need to achieve a reasonable settlement. Get in touch with us at Angela Faye Brown & Associates as soon as you make the decision to end your marriage. Call us in Houston at 713-714-3710.