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TX high asset divorce lawyerThe division of community property is a complicated process in any Texas divorce, but it is often particularly complex in high asset divorces in the state. If you are planning for a divorce or you have just begun the process of filing, you probably already know that, under Texas law, Texas is a community property state. What does this mean for your divorce and your property? In short, most property acquired after the date of the marriage will be classified as “community property,” or property of the community (the community being your marriage). Property acquired prior to the date of your marriage, as well as certain property acquired after the date of marriage, will typically be classified as separate property. In Texas, community property is divided in a divorce in a manner that is “fair and just,” according to the Texas Family Code.

What, then, is commingled property? The term commingled property refers to debts or assets that have characteristics of both separate property and community property. In a high net worth divorce, dealing with commingled property can get complicated, but an aggressive Austin high asset divorce attorney can help. In the meantime, we want to provide you with more information about commingled property and to discuss how courts handle it.

How a Court Will Handle Commingled Property in a High Asset Divorce

How will a court handle commingled property in your high asset divorce? The answer to that question depends largely on just how commingled the property has become. The level or amount of commingling will probably depend upon a few different factors, including, for instance, the type of property and the length of time for which it has been commingled. If the court can trace out, or separate, the community property from the separate property, it will likely do so. However, if the property is so commingled that it is not feasible to determine what amount of the property is community property and what amount is separate property, all of the commingled property could end up being classified as community property and divided between the spouses.

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TX high asset divorce lawyerWhat makes a high asset divorce in Austin, TX  a high asset divorce? In other words, how much money does a married couple need to have in order to be considered to have a high net worth divorce? And when a married couple is anticipating a high asset divorce, how might the case differ depending upon the source of the assets and the likelihood that one or both spouses will continue to contribute to those assets in the future, even after they are divided as community property?

To be clear, not all high asset divorces are the same. For example, some involve two spouses who have both contributed significant assets to their community property through high-paying careers and family inheritances, while some involve scenarios in which only one of the spouses was the primary source of the monetary assets that make up the community property. These divorce cases can look quite different from one another, and the experienced Austin high asset divorce attorneys at our firm want to tell you more.

Both Spouses Were High Earners During the Marriage

When both spouses were high earners during the marriage, the prospect of dividing certain types of community assets under Texas law, such as retirement benefits or stock options, may not be as daunting since both parties likely anticipate that they will continue earning a substantial paycheck and benefits after the divorce and may not actually see any of those benefits transferred directly to a spouse. Moreover, when both spouses are high earners, the matter of alimony or spousal maintenance is often much less of a concern.

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TX divorce lawyerBecause Texas is a community property state, divorcing couples are usually required to divide all assets acquired during the marriage itself in an equitable manner. In most cases, both spouses retain access to these funds and assets while the divorce is pending, so that they can pay reasonable expenses, such as mortgage payments, utility bills, and childcare costs. Spouses who step outside of these limits could be found to have wasted marital assets, an act that is not taken lightly by divorce courts. If you are preparing for or have already filed for divorce and believe that your own spouse is wasting marital assets, you should contact an experienced high asset divorce lawyer who can ensure that your assets are protected.

What Qualifies as Wasting Marital Assets?

Known as dissipation, the wasting of marital assets during a divorce is prohibited under Texas law, which makes it unlawful to dissipate marital property by:

  • Taking out a loan that has not been authorized by the other spouse
  • Spending marital funds on vacations
  • Making expensive purchases without the other spouse’s approval
  • Withdrawing large sums of money from joint accounts
  • Giving extravagant gifts to friends and family members
  • Gambling large sums

Spouses who discover that their significant other has engaged in this type of waste in order to deprive the other party of an equal share of those assets upon divorce may have legal recourse, so it is important for individuals who find themselves in this position, to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

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TX high asset divorceDivorce can place financial strain on even the most conscientious and budget-minded person, but is especially common when the couple in question has unique, diverse, or especially valuable assets that are difficult to divide. There are, however, things that couples can do to help them financially prepare for a divorce, while also maintaining their current standard of living. To learn more about the financial consequences of divorce, whether you or your spouse could be eligible for alimony, or how your assets will be divided upon the dissolution of your marriage, please contact one of our dedicated high asset divorce attorneys for advice.

Reviewing Your Financial Needs

When a couple decides to divorce and a court holds a hearing on the issue of temporary spousal support, the judge will require the parties to disclose not only their assets and debts, but also their expenses. When assessing the latter to determine whether to award post-divorce maintenance, courts will assess which of each party’s expenses are reasonable and necessary. This includes the cost of everything from food, clothing, and vehicle expenses to utilities, legal fees, rent, and even entertainment. Having evidence of these expenses from the outset of the case can help the entire property division process go much more smoothly, while also clarifying each party’s specific financial needs going forward.

Cutting Extra Costs

Although it can be difficult to cut items from a budget that one is accustomed to, doing so is often a crucial step in helping divorcing spouses learn to live within their new incomes. In most cases, divorce will have some sort of impact on a divorcing couple’s standard of living, at least in the short term and while courts attempt to mitigate this by equitably dividing the divorcing parties’ property, divorce still almost always comes with a financial effect. Operating within a restructured budget can be instrumental in helping people adapt to their new financial situations, while helping ensure that their standard of living does not drastically change.

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TX high asset lawyerIf you are recently divorced or are still in the process of dissolving your marriage, you may be nervous about your financial future. Fortunately, there are steps that divorcing parties can take to help them redefine their financial situations after divorce, so if you are considering divorce and have questions about the state of your finances after your marriage is dissolved, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced high asset divorce lawyer who can explain your legal options.

Preparing Yourself for Financial Upheaval

Even the most amicable divorces come with a fair amount of turmoil, especially when it comes to finances, which the parties can expect to drastically change going forward. Some of the most common changes include:

  • A potential decrease in net income;
  • The loss of half of your assets;
  • The need to relocate;
  • The need to reevaluate your estate plan, taxes, and beneficiary planning; and
  • The need to learn new financial skills, such as investing and budgeting.

Fortunately, divorcing parties do not need to go through these changes alone, but instead can rely on a team of financial planners, forensic accountants, and experienced high asset divorce attorneys for assistance.

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TX divorce attorneyWhile ending a marriage is always a complicated process, certain types of divorces are notorious for being especially difficult. Couples with significant, unique, and diverse assets, for instance, often face more difficulties when it comes to accounting for and dividing up marital assets when dissolving a legal union. Fortunately, many of these problems can be avoided if the parties involved retain experienced high asset divorce attorneys who can ensure that their divorce is resolved as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

Identifying Assets

There are a number of complications that can arise during any divorce. Some, however, are particularly common in high asset divorces. Dividing marital property, for instance, tends to be much more difficult for couples with significant assets. This is largely due to the fact that a couple’s finances become more complicated as wealth is amassed. As a result, accounting for the many forms of property, which could range from real estate and business interests to stocks and other investments, can become a complex process. For these reasons, couples with significant assets are often encouraged to retain a forensic accountant who can help them track down all of their financial holdings, which in turn, can help ensure that any property settlements reached by the parties will be as fair as possible.

Appraising Assets

It is also much more difficult to appraise all of a couple’s property in a high asset divorce, as the assets tend to be more complex. For this reason, couples who decide to dissolve their marriages and who own diverse or unique property will need to obtain individual appraisals from experts for assets, such as:

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TX divorce lawyerIt is not uncommon during a divorce for the parties involved to get so caught up in the emotional aspects of dissolving their marriage that they fail to focus on coming up with a property settlement that serves the best interests of both spouses. This can end up costing both parties a significant amount of time and funds, while also making it much more difficult to prepare for post-divorce life. In fact, divorcing spouses may not even realize the full value of the marital assets that they are surrendering to the other without any attempt at negotiation. This is especially likely in situations where one or both spouses own unique assets, such as collectibles that are hard to put a price on, but could be extremely valuable. For help ensuring that this doesn’t happen to you, please contact a member of our dedicated high asset divorce legal team for assistance.

Valuable Collectibles

Although when many people think about valuable collectibles, they imagine antiques or coin collections, the reality is that there are a number of different kinds of valuable assets that a person can collect that fall under this category, including wine, jewelry, and art. In other cases, a person’s collections may only be of interest to a certain group of collectors. However, that doesn’t mean that these types of items don’t have value. In fact, odd items, such as antique medical devices can bring in large sums on auction websites, where collectors from all over the world can search for particular rare collectibles.

Marital Assets

Collectibles, like any other type of asset, is considered community property when it is obtained during the course of a marriage, and as a result, will be subject to the state’s marital property distribution laws. Many find it difficult to part with collectibles purchased or received during marriage, so it is often in these individuals best interest to use these items as leverage in a trade-off for another asset that the other spouse would rather receive.

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TX divorce lawyerAll Texas divorces must be conducted in compliance with state law. However, this doesn’t mean that all divorces are the same. High asset divorces, in particular, come with unique issues. For this reason, it is especially important for those with significant, unique, or diverse assets who have decided to dissolve their marriages, to retain an experienced high asset divorce attorney who is well-versed in these issues and can ensure that their interests and rights are protected.

Financial Complication

One of the most difficult parts of the divorce process is deciding how assets will be divided. This is especially true for those with significant assets who don’t have a prenuptial agreement, as the process of identifying, appraising, and attempting to divide property is much more complex. In these cases, it is not uncommon for couples to have rare or unique property, such as real estate, antiques, artwork, and jewelry, that is both difficult to appraise and divide. It is also much easier in these situations for one spouse to try to hide specific assets, which is both unlawful and could result in an unfair property settlement agreement.

Emotional Implications

Even when a couple has an amicable relationship, going through a divorce is stressful. In many cases, these high emotions are only fueled in high asset divorces, as there is simply more to fight over. It’s also not uncommon for one spouse to have more knowledge of finances and property ownership, in which case, the other party could end up with an unfair settlement if the more financially knowledgeable spouse failed to disclose the ownership of certain property. This, in turn, can make the divorce process even more emotional for the wronged party.

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