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TX divorce lawyerFinance-related issues are often the biggest source of conflict amongst divorcing couples, something that is especially true for couples with a high net worth who own unique, significant, rare, or particularly valuable assets. In these cases, conflicts can quickly escalate, derailing negotiations and resulting in months or even years of litigation. Fortunately, high asset divorces don’t have to be accompanied by conflict and disagreement, as there are a number of important steps that couples can take to help their divorce move towards amicable relations and a secure financial future for both parties. For help ensuring that your own divorce goes as smoothly as possible, it is critical to speak with an experienced high asset divorce lawyer who can advise and assist you.

Obtaining a Clear Picture of Your Asset Portfolio

While many married couples have an equal say in financial decision making, it is also not uncommon for one spouse to be more involved in overseeing the family’s financial holdings than the other. Unfortunately, this can leave the non-involved spouse at a disadvantage if a couple later decides to obtain a divorce. For this reason, spouses who are considering filing for divorce are strongly encouraged to begin taking steps now to document their financial situation by collecting copies of bank statements, loan documents, tax returns, invoices, and receipts.

Hiring a financial expert can be crucial to the success of this endeavor, as can retaining an experienced family law attorney who can ensure that the parties receive equitable treatment during the property division process.

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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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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.

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TX divorce lawyerWhen considering divorce, many couples go into the property settlement process with the expectation that they will be required to parcel out certain personal possessions, decide who will retain the family home, and divide up the contents of any bank accounts. However, this task becomes much more difficult for couples with unique or costly assets, such as fine artwork, which can be difficult to appraise. Fortunately, the advent of digital valuation tools has made this process simpler, although divorcing couples are still encouraged to obtain an in-person appraisal from an expert before going forward with the property division process. To learn more about the different methods of asset appraisal available to you, please contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can advise you.

Appraisal Factors

Appraising fine art tends to be difficult, as it can actually have a number of monetary values. These values are determined primarily by assessing the market in which the work was sold or is to be offered for sale, which includes galleries, auctions, and art fairs. Appraisers then evaluate the data derived from sales of comparable items in similar galleries to determine a rough approximation of a piece’s value.

When selecting artwork with which to compare a piece, appraisers consider a variety of factors, including:

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TX high asset divorce lawyerIn Texas, assets acquired during a marriage are subject to equitable division upon divorce. Whether a couple is able to reach a divorce settlement on their own in an out-of-court setting, or a court orders property division after the parties’ litigate the issue, a divorce will only be officially granted when an arrangement has been reached. In most divorce cases, all property-related issues are resolved by the time the court issues a divorce decree. However, it is also not uncommon for one party to discover, after a divorce has already been finalized, that his or her former spouse was hiding assets in an effort to retain sole possession. Concealing assets during divorce is unlawful, so parties who determine that they were unfairly denied an equitable portion of a specific asset can ask the court to step in and distribute the previously undivided property. This can be a difficult endeavor, so if you recently discovered that your former spouse was hiding assets during your divorce proceedings, it is critical to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help you collect your rightful share of your marital property.

Dividing Assets

During divorce proceedings, courts require couples to provide evidence of all of their different assets, including titles, deeds, bank statements, and receipts for collectibles like artwork or antiques. Providing this documentation helps give courts a good idea of each party’s financial holdings, which in turn, enables them to fairly and justly divide those assets between the parties. Obviously, a fair distribution of marital assets isn’t possible if one of the parties, or the court, is unaware that certain property exists. For this reason, when a party later learns that a former spouse was concealing assets, courts allow them to file a new lawsuit requesting distribution of the remaining undivided property.

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Posted on in High Asset Divorce

TX high asset divorce lawyerWhen considering divorce and the division of assets that must inevitably follow, it is important for divorcing couples to remember to account for all trusts that they have established, including those created prior to their marriage. Depending on when it was created and the types of funds and assets that it contains, a trust might completely protect one spouse’s property from division during divorce. On the other hand, the contents of a trust might still end up being divided equitably between the spouses. If you or your spouse have a trust in place and have questions about its fate in the event of divorce, you should consider consulting with a high asset divorce lawyer who can advise you.

Irrevocable Trusts

Although Texas courts have not addressed all types of trusts in relation to divorce, a number of judges have indicated that separate irrevocable trusts, when created prior to a marriage, do shield separate property from marital property. As a result, the contents of those trusts are not subject to division upon divorce. In fact, even the income from these types of trusts, even if it was earned during the marriage, will remain separate property and so also won’t be subject to division. However, this is only true if the beneficiary of the trust, whether the spouse him or herself or a third party, will not be considered to have a present possessory right to any of the assets contained in the trust. In the event that the trustor is granted a present possessory right to a portion of the trust, then the income would become marital property and would have to be divided equitably between the parties.

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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.

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