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TX divorce lawyerWhen parents in Austin decide to file for divorce and they have minor children together, the divorce process often gets more complicated. These complications tend to be even more amplified in high net worth divorces in Texas where the children attend expensive private schools and participate in high-priced extracurricular activities. For example, in and around Austin, many parents pay for their children to participate in a variety of sports, and kids may participate on travel sports teams that require additional expenses. Other kinds of extracurricular activities and hobbies can also be extremely expensive, from classical music lessons to equestrian sports.

Texas child support laws are streamlined based on a noncustodial parent’s average monthly net income, and they do not take into account the costly extracurricular activities and sports that are common for kids in high asset families, nor does Texas law allow a court to add onto a child support obligation for private school expenses. We will tell you more about how child support laws do work in Texas, and we will say more about how parents ultimately can ensure that their kids can remain in their current school and extracurricular activities despite the divorce.

Texas Courts Calculate Child Support Based on Income and Number of Children

Regardless of the income or assets of either parent in a Texas high net worth divorce case, the court will use the formula for calculating child support set by Texas law. Under the Texas Family Code, the following is the calculation that the court will use to determine the noncustodial parent’s child support obligation:

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TX high asset divorce lawyerWhile many high net worth divorces in Texas involve spouses with nearly equal earning power or separate assets, a significant number of high asset divorces also involve spouses where only one was the primary earner during the marriage. Whether the other spouse was a stay-at-home parent or simply earned significantly less in the marriage, the prospect of divorce can be extremely daunting for that spouse. Although gender roles are shifting, the non-primary earner spouse often ends up being a woman. And many women who go through high asset divorces in this position do not take all the steps they can to position themselves well financially. It is particularly important for women to consult with financial advisors more often than they do and to work with a divorce attorney who has experience handling high net worth cases.

The following are some of the reasons women should consider a financial advisor in a high net worth divorce. If you need help with your divorce case or have questions about financial matters, an experienced Austin high asset divorce attorney at our firm can speak with you today.

Not Enough Women Work with Financial Experts, But They Should

According to a new study, women do not work with financial advisors and other financial experts nearly as often as they should in divorce cases. This is even true for women who are non-primary earners who are going through high asset divorces. Indeed, over 95 percent of women do not use a financial advisor when going through a divorce despite having financial goals they want to achieve.

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TX divorce lawyerHigh asset divorces in Texas are different from other types of divorces. These divorces often involve complex property division and complicated valuations of community property. Since all community property is divisible under Texas law, it is essential that high-value assets be appraised accurately. Beyond complex property division matters, high asset divorces can also be much more complicated in terms of spousal maintenance issues, as well as matters pertaining to child support and even child custody. Given that high asset divorces are so complicated, it is easy to make mistakes if you do not work with an experienced attorney. Those mistakes can cause problems in your divorce case and can, in some situations, be irreparable.

An aggressive Texas high asset divorce lawyer at Powers and Kerr, PLLC can begin working on your case today. In the meantime, the following is a list of common mistakes you should avoid in an Austin high net worth divorce.

Failing to Work with an Expert Appraiser

In a high asset divorce, it is essential to work with an appraiser who can provide an accurate and fair valuation of your valuable property. If you fail to work with an expert appraiser, the court may value property in ways that do not take into account the unique aspects of the property, or your spouse’s valuation may be the sole evidence that the court uses to place a value on the property. You should work with your lawyer to hire an appraiser who has experience providing market and insurance valuations of the particular kinds of property that will be classified as community property in your divorce.

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TX divorce lawyerHigh asset divorces in Austin, TX are complicated for numerous reasons, from matters of property division to alimony. One of the more complex and contentious issues that can arise in a high net worth divorce is the matter of hidden assets. Particularly in high asset divorces where one of the spouses was the primary earner during the marriage, the other spouse may have concerns about hidden or concealed assets. When the non-primary earner does not control the finances of the marriage and does not regularly manage business issues or jointly owned accounts, it can be difficult to know exactly what the assets from the marriage look like in sum. Yet discovering hidden assets can be extremely important given that Texas is a community property state.

Under Texas law, couples who get divorced in Texas should know that community property is owned equally by the spouses. Accordingly, courts divide the property recognizing that both spouses have an equal interest in it while also taking into account what kind of division would be fair to both parties. If there are substantial hidden assets, one of the spouses could end up losing out on property to which she or he is entitled. While assets can be hidden in any divorce—regardless of the extent of the property owned by the married couple—hidden assets in a high net worth divorce can total tens of thousands of dollars. As such, it is essential to ensure that neither spouse is hiding assets in the divorce.

Know Where to Look for Hidden Assets

Even if you do not immediately suspect your spouse of hiding assets, it is important to know where to look for “red flags.” For example, itemized deductions in Schedule A in past tax returns could reveal property that you did not know existed. Or, for instance, details about assets that have generated interest and dividends (located in Schedule B) could reveal that your spouse has more money than she or he has listed. Tax returns can also provide information about business profits and losses (Schedule C), as well as capital gains and losses (Schedule D). Information about capital gains and losses can provide information about certain securities in which your spouse has invested, as well as stocks or real estate.

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TX high asset divorceIn high asset divorce cases, the disposition of real property is often a major sticking point between the estranged spouses. When dealing with large parcels of commercial or agricultural land in particular, it may be necessary to actually subdivide the property. And even after the divorce becomes final, there may still be outstanding issues related to the property that lead to additional litigation.

Ex-Husband Held in Breach of Contract Over Post-Divorce Land Sale

The Texas Second District Court of Appeals in Fort Worth recently addressed one long-running dispute between two parties who divorced five years ago. The former husband and former wife in this case held 300 acres of land in Parker County as community property. Under the terms of their divorce decree, the former wife received 123 acres from that parcel.

Two years later, the former wife signed a contract with the former husband to sell back 32 acres. The contract included a written description of the land, together with an aerial photograph obtained via Google Earth. Under the contract, the former husband agreed to pay a $35,000 earnest-money deposit, which he would forfeit to the former wife in the event of a breach.

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TX high asset lawyerPrenuptial agreements are a common legal tool used to avoid protracted litigation, particularly in the event of a high-asset divorce. Of course, when a divorce proceeding actually begins, it is not unusual for one spouse to challenge the validity of the prenuptial agreement. This is why it is essential to follow certain procedures when drafting the agreement initially.

Houston Court Rejects Wife's Challenge to Prenuptial Agreement

A recent decision from a Texas appeals court illustrates how to successfully defend a prenuptial agreement from such a challenge.

This case involves a couple that initially met through a dating website. The future husband lived in Houston, while the future wife lived in Vietnam. Even before the two met in person, the husband said he "wanted his future wife to sign a prenuptial agreement to protect his assets," according to court records.

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TX divorce lawyerIn the absence of a pre or postmarital agreement, a couple who has decided to divorce and who owns businesses will need to decide how those assets will be divided, which will also require an accurate business appraisal. These appraisals are conducted by experts, but it’s still important to carefully review them for accuracy. However, the technical language of these documents can make their review a difficult process, so if you are considering divorce and own one or more businesses, it is important to retain an experienced Austin, TX high asset divorce lawyer who can go over the appraisals with you and ensure that the terms of any property settlement agreements are fair.

Professional Standards

Before requesting a business valuation, it is important for divorcing couples to ensure that the appraiser is qualified to perform the analysis and has the proper credentials. There are three main professional associations that issue valuation standards for appraisers: the American Society of Appraisers, the American Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the National Society of Certified Valuation Analysts. Ensuring that your own appraiser has been credentialed by one of these groups is one of the first steps that a divorcing couple should take when seeking an appraisal.

Clarity and Thoroughness

Once a business valuation has been completed, the appraiser will create and submit a valuation report. Upon review, this report should be clear as to the purpose of the appraisal and include information about:

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