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TX divorce lawyerThe breakdown of a marriage will often involve strong emotions and heated disputes between spouses, and this can sometimes lead people to behave inappropriately. In some cases, a spouse will waste money or act in ways that result in the loss of marital assets. This is known as the dissipation of marital assets, and it can take a variety of forms. A spouse may make large purchases solely for their own benefit, or they may spend money while having an affair. In some cases, spouses may even purposely destroy property or otherwise waste money or assets in an attempt to harm their spouse. These actions can affect the division of marital property during the divorce process, and complex property litigation may be needed to address this issue.

Fraud on the Community

Asset dissipation is a form of fraud against the “community” of a couple’s marriage, although it will usually not result in criminal charges. In some cases, dissipation may constitute actual fraud if a person acted dishonestly with the purpose of depriving their spouse of the use of marital assets. However, in most cases, dissipation is considered “constructive fraud on the community,” meaning that a person used, gave away, or otherwise disposed of marital assets without their spouse’s consent.

If a family court judge determines that a spouse has committed fraud on the community, they will determine the value of the “reconstituted estate,” which is the total value of the couple’s assets before the dissipation occurred. The reconstituted estate can then be divided between the spouses, and a judge may award a greater share of the assets to the wronged spouse, require the spouse who committed fraud on the community to make a monetary payment to the other spouse, or both.

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TX high asset divorce lawyerDuring a high net worth divorce, spouses will not only want to make sure their own financial interests will be protected, but they may need to take steps to ensure that other family members are not negatively affected by the end of their marriage. Those who come from wealthy families will want to make sure their family’s assets will not be lost during divorce proceedings. Spouses who have acquired significant assets during their marriage may want to ensure that certain assets will be preserved and passed on to their children or other family members. Business owners, executives, and those with large incomes may need to determine how to divide their marital assets in a way that will allow family businesses to remain in operation while making sure they and their families will have the resources they need in the years to come.

Wealth Protection Methods

The divorce process can be complex, and it often involves strong emotions and contentious disputes. This can make it difficult to determine how to divide marital assets fairly, and drawn-out divorce proceedings may end up using up a great deal of wealth that could be put to better purposes elsewhere. In many cases, the best way to make sure family wealth is protected is to take steps to do so before either spouse begins to consider getting divorced. Some ways that spouses can protect their family’s assets include:

  • Marital agreements - If a person enters a marriage while owning significant assets, it is often a good idea to create a prenuptial agreement, which can specify how both community property and non-marital assets will be handled during a potential divorce. This can be a good way to ensure that existing family wealth is protected. For those who acquired valuable assets during their marriage, such as a business or professional practice, a postnuptial agreement can provide similar protections and decide how business assets and other property will be divided if a couple chooses to get divorced in the future.
  • Asset protection trusts - To avoid the commingling of separate property owned by one spouse with community property owned by both spouses, assets may be placed in a trust. In most cases, a person will create this type of trust before getting married. By removing assets from their possession and placing them in the control of a trustee, they can ensure that these assets will be protected from division during divorce. When creating an asset protection trust, a person can provide instructions for how the assets should be distributed to beneficiaries, which may include themselves, their children, charitable organizations, or others.

Contact Our Austin High Asset Divorce Attorneys

If you are looking to protect the wealth owned by your family or other types of assets, the attorneys of Powers and Kerr, PLLC can explain your options and help you put the proper protective measures in place. If you need to determine how to divide valuable assets during your divorce, we can provide you with representation, help you negotiate a workable divorce settlement, or advocate on your behalf during complex property litigation. Contact our Austin property division lawyers today by calling our office at 512-610-6199.

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TX divorce lawyerDuring a high net worth divorce, couples will need to address multiple different types of assets, including financial accounts, vehicles, jewelry, furniture, valuable artwork or collectibles, and family businesses. Real estate, including the marital home, vacation homes, or commercial properties, are often among the most valuable assets owned by a couple, and complex property litigation may be needed to determine how the division of this property will be handled. During the divorce process, spouses should be sure to understand their rights regarding real estate property and the legal and financial issues that they may need to address.

Community Property Vs. Separate Property

The first thing to consider when addressing real estate is determining whether it is considered community property or separate property. Community property includes any assets acquired by either spouse during their marriage, and Texas law requires these assets to be divided equally during a divorce.

A home or other real estate property purchased during a couple’s marriage will be considered community property, while real estate owned by one spouse before getting married will usually be considered separate property that will remain in the possession of that spouse. However, these issues can become more complex if a spouse contributed toward an increase in the value of the other spouse’s separate property during their marriage.

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TX divorce lawyerWhen you are in the early stages of planning for a high asset divorce in Texas, you should know that you will likely be facing a divorce involving the classification, valuation, and distribution of many different types of complex property. We have told you about some common types of complex property in an Austin high net worth divorce, including valuable collections of art and books, as well as business holdings and investments. Yet these are not the only types of complex property that will need to be divided in most Texas high asset divorce cases. We want to tell you about some more common types of complex property that may need to be evaluated in a high net worth divorce.

Keep in mind that Texas is a community property state, which means most property acquired after the date of marriage will be considered community property and thus will be subject to division. If you have questions or concerns, you should speak with an aggressive Austin high asset divorce attorney today.

Real Estate and Vacation Homes

Valuing real estate, especially vacation homes in different states or different countries, can be complicated. In general, if the property is classified as community property, a Texas court will handle the property like any other property the married couple owns in Austin. However, it is important to point out that real estate in other states, and especially in other countries, should be identified early on in the divorce process since one of the parties may attempt to conceal international property.

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TX divorce lawyerHigh asset divorces in Austin, Texas are different from other divorces in many different ways. One significant distinction is that high net worth divorces almost always involve various types of complex property that must be classified and, in many cases, divided between the spouses according to Texas community property laws. If you are planning to file for divorce, or if you are in the early stages of your Austin divorce, you may already know that Texas is what is known as a “community property” state. Accordingly, most property acquired after the date of marriage will be classified as community property, and it will be divided between the spouses in a manner that the court determines to be “just and right.”

Classifying and dividing certain types of property can be extremely complicated, however, and high net worth divorce cases usually involve a substantial amount of complex property. The following are some of the common types of complex property that you may need to consider in your Texas divorce. And if you need assistance, you should know that an aggressive Austin high asset divorce attorney can represent you.

Rare Art, Books, Music, Artifacts, and Other Collectible Items

In Austin, many married couples share a home full of interesting collections, such as local art, rare books and music, and other artifacts. Collections made up of objects like these can be complicated to classify and divide in a divorce for many reasons.

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TX divorce lawyerWhen you are thinking about the financial issues and economic realities of a high asset divorce in Austin, Texas, one of the things you may be considering is whether it makes sense to stay in your marital home or to sell the property and share the profits. First, you will need to determine whether the home is likely to be classified as community property. If so, it is important to consider all factors in determining whether it makes sense to keep the property. Our Austin high asset divorce lawyers will say more about the complications of keeping a marital home after a high asset divorce.

Is the Marital Home Community Property?

Before you start to consider whether it could make sense to negotiate a property settlement in which you keep the house, you will need to know first whether the house is even likely to be classified as community property.

As you likely know, Texas is a community property state. Accordingly, under Texas law, courts divide community property (or property of the marriage) between the spouses, while usually, separate property is not divided. For many Austin couples, the marital home is considered community property or, at least, part of the value of the home is community property. While a number of Texas couples purchase a home together after they are married, there are a variety of ways that a marital home may have characteristics of both community property and separate property. For example, if a couple uses separate funds to place a down payment on the house but makes mortgage payments from community funds, commingling has occurred and the types of property will need to be traced out.

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