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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 divorce lawyerCouples who own especially valuable or unique assets face a number of difficulties when it comes to divorce. Fortunately, individuals who find themselves in this situation do have certain tools at their disposal that can help them prepare for the property division process. Creating a property division checklist, for instance, has helped countless divorcing couples account for, categorize, value, and fairly divide their marital property. Creating a property division checklist, however, can be a difficult endeavor in its own right, so if you are considering divorce and have questions about how your marital assets will be divided, please contact an experienced high asset divorce lawyer who can walk you through the property division process.

Marital Property Categories

One of the biggest challenges faced by divorcing couples is deciding who will retain which assets. To help simplify this process, many divorcing couples are encouraged to create a property division checklist, in which they account for and categorize all of their assets. Although each couple’s property division checklist will look different, there are some basic categories under which most assets fall, including:

  • Personal property, which can include everything from home furnishings and electronics to jewelry and collectibles
  • Financial assets, including bank accounts, stocks and bonds, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, cash, and pensions
  • Real property, which includes not only the marital home, but also any vacation homes, rental properties, undeveloped land, or commercial properties
  • Business assets, including any ownership interests in a business or company equipment

Once a couple has each of these categories in place, they can go through their assets one at a time and place them in the proper category.

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TX high asset divorce lawyerAlthough divorce can be an emotional rollercoaster for the parties involved, proceedings can become especially contentious when there are disputes about ownership of significant, unique, or valuable assets. While prenuptial agreements can help clear up these disagreements, many couples fail to enter into these types of contracts, as they deem it unlucky to contemplate the end of a marriage before it actually begins. For help protecting your property during your divorce, please contact our experienced Texas high asset divorce legal team today.

Accounting for All Assets

One of the biggest mistakes that a divorcing couple can make is to fail to account for all of their assets, including:

  • Current bank accounts
  • Non-cash assets
  • Future interests, such as pensions, start-up stock options, and business interests
  • Inherited funds or goods
  • Income earned prior to the divorce filing, but received later, including bonuses and recent paycheck retirement contributions

Identifying all of these types of assets can be difficult, especially for those who do not play an active role in managing their household finances, so it is particularly important for those who find themselves in this position, to speak with an experienced forensic accountant before proceeding with the property division process.

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TX high asset divorce lawyerAll divorces are complex and potentially emotional. Dissolving the marriage of a couple with unique or significant assets, however, tends to be especially difficult, as it often comes with a host of unique legal challenges, so if you are thinking about filing for divorce in Texas, it is important to speak with an experienced high asset divorce lawyer who can advise you.

What Is a High Asset Divorce?

Narrowing down what qualifies as a high asset divorce can be difficult, but the following are all good indicators that a divorce will involve considerable assets and come with unique challenges:

  • Both parties earn a significant income.
  • The parties own multiple real estate properties, which could include vacation homes, undeveloped real estate, and rental properties, in addition to the family home.
  • The parties own a number of vehicles, including motorcycles, boats, and vintage cars.
  • One or both parties own business interests.
  • The parties have a diverse investment portfolio.
  • The couple has significant savings, retirement benefits, or life insurance policies.
  • The parties own collectible items, such as jewelry, artwork, and memorabilia.

Couples who own some or all of these types of properties should have a thorough understanding of Texas’ community property laws, which require divorcing couples to divide their assets in an equitable and fair manner. While this could mean that a couple’s marital assets are divided down the middle, it could also result in one party being granted a greater portion of certain properties. Ultimately, what is considered fair and equitable will depend upon the parties’ unique circumstances.

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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 divorce lawyerOne of the most difficult components of many high asset divorces involves the division of business assets. Although having a pre or postnuptial agreement can make this process much simpler, not all couples enter into these types of agreements, which means that either a court or the parties themselves will need to decide how any business interests will be split. To ensure that the division of your marital assets, including any business interests, is fair and equitable, please contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who is well-versed in Texas law and can advise you accordingly.

Is There a Premarital Agreement?

If a couple entered into a premarital agreement and one of the parties already owned a business at the time, then the fate of that company in the event of divorce should have been included in the agreement. In these cases, how the business’ assets will be divided depends on the terms of the agreement, which could mean a number of different things. For instance, the parties might have previously agreed that the entire company would go to one spouse in the event of divorce, or that both would receive an equal share.

Just because a couple did not enter into a premarital agreement before getting hitched, does not mean that they are out of luck when it comes to dividing their business upon divorce, as married couples also have the option of entering into postnuptial agreements that account for these types of assets.

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TX divorce lawyerThere are a number of issues that couples must address before a court will finalize their divorce, one of which is how their marital property, or the assets that were acquired during the marriage, should be divided. Under Texas law, divorcing couples must divide their marital assets in a fair and equitable way, an endeavor that is only possible if the parties have a thorough understanding of the current monetary value of the assets in question, which can vary significantly depending on the date that is chosen for valuation.

Determining an asset’s valuation date can be a difficult and often contentious process, so if you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce and own unique or valuable marital assets, it is important to contact an experienced high asset divorce lawyer who can ensure that those assets are properly appraised and divided fairly upon the finalization of your divorce.

Establishing Value

The valuation of marital assets can be established in a number of different ways, including by:

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TX divorce lawyerFor couples who are going through a high asset divorce and who also own unique or particularly valuable assets, property division negotiations can be one of the most complex parts of the entire divorce process. Whether an asset falls under the category of a personal possession, a business asset, real property, or another type of asset, its purchase date will have an extremely important impact on how it is divided upon divorce. For this reason, most couples who are going through a high asset divorce are strongly encouraged to carefully evaluate and separate marital property from assets that were accrued prior to marriage.

To ensure that this task is manageable for both parties, couples in this position may want to consider creating a marital property checklist, a tool that often proves invaluable to divorcing parties who are concerned about coming up with a fair and equitable property division settlement. Unfortunately, creating this type of list can be difficult, so if you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce, it is important to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help protect your interests.

What to Include on a Marital Property Checklist

In an effort to keep the property division process as organized as possible, many divorcing couples choose to create a list of all the marital property that must be divided. Most marital property checklists contain at least four categories of assets, including:

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