8911 N. Capital of Texas Highway, Building 2, Suite 2105,
Austin, TX 78759

Call Us512-610-6199

Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in complex divorce litigation

TX divorce attorneyWhen you are going through a high asset divorce in Texas, the prospect of dividing valuable collections in your divorce can be devastating. Married couples in the Austin area often acquire many different types of collections that they consider to be priceless, from paintings and sculptures to rare vinyl records and books. Given that one of the points of the collection is to keep it intact, it can be extremely difficult to consider having a collection pieced apart and sold because you are getting divorced. The following are some important considerations for dividing a rare book collection in a high net worth divorce, including possibilities for keeping the collection intact.

Know How Property is Divided Under Texas Law

Texas is a community property state. As a community property state, any property that spouses acquire during their marriage is owned jointly by them as “community property.” Generally speaking, Texas courts will divide community property equally between the spouses recognizing that both have equal interests in the property. However, courts ultimately divide property in a manner that is equitable to both parties, or “just and right,” given their particular circumstances.

If you acquired any part of the rare book collection after the date of marriage, it will likely be classified as community property and subject to division. Exceptions may include a rare book inherited by one of the spouses during the marriage or a gift given only to one of the spouses during the marriage. Any part of the collection acquired prior to the date of marriage usually will be classified as separate property and will not be divided.

...

TX divorce lawyerAlthough some couples quickly follow up the decision to end their marriage with a divorce filing, it is also not uncommon for couples to carefully consider this option over a period of weeks or months before officially filing for divorce. Those who take the latter route have the benefit of extra time in which to plan for the termination of their marriage, which can make all the difference in how smoothly the later divorce actually proceeds. This is especially true for couples who have unique or particularly valuable assets, as accounting for, appraising, and ultimately dividing these assets can take a significant amount of time. To learn more about how an experienced high asset divorce attorney can help you plan for your own pending divorce, please contact our legal team today.

Planning for Alimony

As a result of changes made to the tax code last year, divorced spouses who pay alimony are no longer permitted to deduct those payments come tax season, while spouses who receive these payments can no longer count those payments as income. Knowing how, and planning for, these changes will affect a couple’s own financial situation after divorce is important to the success of the negotiation process. For instance, divorcing couples who properly plan before litigating a divorce could redistribute their assets in such a way that they are able to regain some of what they will lose as a result of the new alimony legislation. The spouse, for example, who is the higher earner could retain the couple’s taxable assets, such as cash, stocks, and bonds, while the lesser earning spouse could retain the tax-deferred accounts like 401(ks) and IRAs.

Accounting for and Appraising Assets

Couples who own extensive, unique or especially valuable assets usually have a more difficult time accounting for, characterizing, and appraising all of those assets. Beginning this process ahead of time can help couples avoid some of the stress that goes along with dividing up a marital estate. Hiring a forensic accountant and other financial specialists can also play a crucial role in ensuring that no assets are improperly appraised or are unaccounted for during the property division process. Compiling documentation related to ownership and value can also be accomplished in the planning stage, which can save time later on in the proceedings.

...

TX high asset divorceOne of the things that sets many high asset divorces apart from other divorces is the ownership of business interests by one or both spouses. Owning these types of assets can make the property division portion of high asset divorces much more complex, so if you and your spouse have decided to get divorced and either one of you owns a business, it is important to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help protect your interests.

Do Not Delay

Dissolving a marriage can be a lengthy, costly, and emotional process, so it is not uncommon for many couples who decide to end their marriages to delay actually filing for divorce. While this can temporarily delay the potential difficulties that often come with divorce, it will not eliminate them and can actually end up complicating the divorce process itself. For instance, Texas is a community property state, which means that all of the assets acquired by a couple during the course of a marriage are subject to equitable division. This includes not only assets like real estate and personal possessions, but also any increase in their company’s revenue, profit, and income, so the longer a couple waits to dissolve their marriage, the more they may end up needing to divide during the property division process.

Keep Detailed Records

One of the best ways to ensure that any divorce-related property settlement agreement is fair is to provide the court with detailed business records. These records, including bank statements, invoices, contracts, and bills related to monthly expenses can help establish the value of the business in question, as well as its equipment and assets. Pay stubs and paychecks can also be used to establish income, which can play an important role in determining child support and alimony.

...

TX divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce tends to be a tumultuous and stressful time in a family’s life, so it is not uncommon for couples who are going through this life change to focus primarily on the emotional aspects of the dissolution. This instinct is to be expected, and in many ways, is even encouraged as a means of helping children and relatives transition to post-divorce life. However, it is also important for the parties involved to focus on the significant legal implications of dissolving a marriage. For instance, whether or not a divorcing couple has children, they will need to divide their marital property equitably and may also need to grapple with whether one spouse will be required to pay alimony. Ensuring that these determinations are fair to all parties requires effort from both spouses, which includes the compiling and organizing of important financial documentation. This can be an arduous process, especially for couples with significant or unique assets, so if you and your spouse are planning on filing for divorce, you should contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help you get your documentation in order.

Gathering Financial Information

Being prepared with necessary financial documentation and paperwork can go a long way towards ensuring that any property settlement agreement proposed in negotiations or by a court is fair and equitable. The exact documentation that divorcing parties will be asked to produce depends in large part on their specific circumstances. For instance, couples with children may need to provide different paperwork than would a couple who has significant assets and no children. However, there are certain documents that almost every divorcing couple will be asked to produce, including:

  • Income tax returns, often going back as far as five years;
  • Employment information, such as pay stubs and W-2s;
  • Bank statements;
  • Loan documentation;
  • Pension plan documents;
  • Investment and retirement account statements; and
  • Credit card statements.

Divorcing couples may also be asked to produce documentation related to any wills or trusts that they previously created. Documents detailing all of a couple’s assets will be necessary, including appraisals and financial affidavits, as will documentation related to expenses. If, for instance, a couple uses a daycare service, they would need to provide evidence of receipts or invoices that demonstrate the cost of those services.

...

TX high asset divorce lawyerAlthough ensuring that your assets are secure is one of the most important aspects of any divorce, it is especially true for those with substantial or unique property. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that Texas residents can take to protect their assets, so if you are thinking about filing for divorce, it is critical to speak with an experienced high asset divorce lawyer who can explain your legal options.

Listing Your Assets

One of the most crucial steps that divorcing couples should take is determining which assets belong to whom. This is because Texas is an equitable distribution state, which means that only marital assets must be divided equitably upon divorce. Separate property, or assets that belong to one spouse alone, however, can remain in the sole possession of the original owner. For this reason, providing proof of when and how an asset was purchased is critical to the property division process. In fact, a spouse who can prove that he or she received a particular asset as part of a gift or an inheritance can retain that asset, even if it was obtained during the marriage.

...

TX divorce lawyerDivorce can be a financially and emotionally stressful time. This is true regardless of how much a couple’s assets are worth, especially when children are involved. However, families with unique or valuable assets do face specific issues when it comes to divorce, such as property division disputes, valuation problems, and attempts to hide assets. With this in mind, it is important for couples with business interests, complex assets, or significant financial interests to try and avoid certain pitfalls. Consulting with an experienced high asset divorce attorney can be crucial to the success of this endeavor, so if you are considering divorce and have diverse or substantial assets, you should consider contacting an experienced high asset divorce attorney for advice.

Making Emotional Decisions

One of the worst things that a divorcing couple can do is make decisions based purely on emotion. For instance, one spouse may attempt to relieve themselves of guilt for past wrongdoings by agreeing to pay more spousal support than is necessary or by giving the other party a greater share of marital property. Later, when tempers have cooled, the parties could realize that the decisions they made were not in their best interests. Unfortunately, it is often too late by this point and they will most likely be stuck with their court-ordered property settlement.

...

TX divorce lawyerAlthough in many cases it is impossible for divorcing couples to work out their issues in an out of court setting, a large percentage of families are able to come to an agreement regarding custody or property division through mediation. The benefits of mediation are even more important in high asset divorces where the possession of unique assets, such as business interests, valuable personal possessions, and real estate are at issue. To learn more about mediation and whether it is right for you, please contact one of our dedicated high asset divorce lawyers today.

The Mediation Process

The mediation process is overseen by a neutral third party, or mediator, who is tasked with hearing the parties’ issues and concerns and then facilitating negotiation, with the final goal of reaching a settlement that both parties voluntarily agree to. Although the parties will prepare for mediation as though they were going to trial by compiling financial records, lists of assets, and appraisals, the similarities end here, as mediations are non-adversarial. Furthermore, unlike a trial, communications that take place during mediation will remain confidential. In fact, if a mediation fails, mediators are not allowed to testify about anything that was discussed during the meetings at trial.

...

TX divorce lawyerDivorce proceedings can be time-consuming and emotional, so many couples breathe a sigh of relief when they are able to successfully negotiate a settlement out of court. Unfortunately, just because parties have agreed to a settlement, does not mean that the other party will comply with its terms. This is especially true in cases where a settlement is the result of a court order and not negotiations between the parties. A failure to abide by a settlement agreement can have devastating consequences, particularly when high assets are involved, as one party’s intransigence could lead to significant assets being tied up and made inaccessible for years. This, in turn, can make it difficult to make ends meet, pay bills, and generally, move on with your life, so if your former spouse is defying all or part of your divorce settlement agreement, it is critical to speak with an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help ensure that the terms of your agreement are respected.

The Terms of a High Asset Divorce Settlement

While some former spouses may refuse to comply with a court order out of bitterness, most are simply unable to do so. This is especially common when it comes to a failure to pay child support or alimony and the non-paying party was recently let go or fired from his or her job. Alternatively, a party could be failing to comply with a custody order because his or her work schedule conflicts with that arrangement, or because he or she is struggling with health issues. Whatever the reason, in these cases, it is up to that party to seek a modification of the order. Otherwise, they will be subject to the legal repercussions of failing to comply with the terms of a court order.

...
Super Lawyers TBLS AV Martindale Avvo Top One Expert Top 10 Law Firm
Back to Top