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TX divorcel lawyerWhen you are getting ready to file for divorce, or your spouse has recently filed, you should be thinking carefully about the divorce lawyer you will hire to represent you. For high net worth couples in Austin, your choice of a divorce attorney is particularly important given that your case is likely to have complications due to the high value of your assets and earnings. You may be wondering: what makes a high asset divorce different? And you might even be thinking that any divorce lawyer familiar with community property division and child custody issues under the Texas Family Code can handle your case.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that there are various issues that do in fact make high asset divorces different from other divorces, and you should always have a Texas high asset divorce lawyer on your side who has years of experience assisting clients in high net worth divorces in and around Austin. The following are just a few of the ways in which high asset divorces are different from divorces involving spouses with lower incomes and assets.

Valuation of Complex Property

High asset divorces often involve high-value complex property that can be difficult to value without the assistance from an appraiser. For example, high asset divorces in Austin may involve businesses that need to be appraised, valuable art collections that need to be appraised for current market value, or real estate in different parts of the country (or even different parts of the world) that will need to be accurately appraised. Often, distinct and high-value property will need to involve multiple appraisers with experience providing valuations for niche assets.

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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 lawyerMany couples in Austin, Texas with significant assets own property outside the state of Texas. In some cases, a couple may even have international assets, such as real estate or bank accounts. While these types of property are not as common in divorces involving middle-class couples, high net worth divorces in Texas often do have assets located in other states and other countries. When assets are located outside of Texas, this fact alone does not mean that they will not be subject to division. Rather, any assets, regardless of where they are located, will need to be classified and, if they are community property, divided between the spouses.

We want to provide you with more information about handling out-of-state property in a Texas high net worth divorce. An aggressive Austin high asset divorce attorney can discuss the specific details of your case with you today.

Out-of-State Property Must Be Classified

If you and your spouse both live in Austin or at least you both live in the state of Texas, you may be wondering whether valuable property that is located outside the state — either in another U.S. state or in an international location — will need to be identified when you go through the divorce process. Texas law makes clear that any assets owned by the spouses need to be properly identified and classified. In other words, when you list the property you own so that the court can determine whether it should be classified as community property (and thus subject to division) or separate property (and thus not subject to division), you do need to list out-of-state assets.

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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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