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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 lawyerWhile most people assume that one of the most difficult aspects of divorce is coming up with a child custody arrangement that meets the needs of all parties or learning to co-parent with one’s former spouse, the reality is that dividing marital property is actually one of the most time-consuming aspects of any divorce. This is especially true for high asset divorces, where couples have significant, diverse, or unique assets that are difficult to inventory, appraise, and divide. Furthermore, while not all divorcing couples have children, most will have at least some assets that need to be divided before a divorce can be finalized. For this reason, it is critical for those who are considering divorce, to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can explain the property division process and ensure that their rights and interests are protected.

What Is Equitable Division?

Texas is a community property state, which means that all of a couple’s marital, or community property, must be divided equitably upon divorce. While in many cases, this could take the form of an equal division, it could also result in one spouse receiving more assets than the other, especially if one of the spouses is receiving alimony. Assets that often fall under the category of marital property include:

  • The family home;
  • Real estate;
  • Vacation properties;
  • Retirement plans and benefits;
  • Vehicles;
  • Jewelry;
  • Antiques;
  • Artwork;
  • Personal possessions;
  • Bank accounts; and
  • Investments.

While dividing a couple’s bank accounts equally between two parties may be a relatively simple feat, dividing other assets, such as vehicles and personal belongings is much more difficult. When it comes to selling the family home, for instance, couples are usually required to engage in a complex process that involves:

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TX divorce lawyerWhether an agreement is reached in an out-of-court setting through negotiation, or as the result of litigation and a court order, the terms of any finalized divorce decree must be followed. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for one of the parties to refuse to comply with certain terms, especially in regards to property division. In these situations, courts can step in and enforce a property settlement following divorce, so if your former spouse is refusing to comply with a court order by failing to turn over certain assets, it is critical to retain an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help you seek a request for relief from the court.

Enforcing a Temporary Property Division Order

During many divorces, the parties are required to address temporary property-related issues while the divorce is pending, such as: who will retain the family home, who will be responsible for paying certain bills and expenses, and who will cover debts, such as loans, credit cards, and lease payments. To address these matters, a court may issue a temporary order that has some or all of the following effects:

  • Restrains one spouse from damaging or selling certain property;
  • Requires an inventory and appraisal of all community and separate property;
  • Prohibits the parties from wasting marital assets; and
  • Assigns responsibility for certain household expenses and childcare costs.

These temporary orders play a critical role in helping spouses resolve certain issues during divorce, but also provide the grounds for an enforcement action if one spouse fails to comply with the terms. Temporary orders are as legally binding as final orders, so when one party fails to abide by their terms, the court can intervene by transferring liability, ordering eviction, foreclosure, or wage garnishment, or holding the non-compliant party in contempt.

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TX divorce lawyerCouples with significant or diverse assets are often forced to grapple with legal issues that don’t apply in most divorce cases. This can make the divorce process not only more complicated, but also more acrimonious, especially when it comes to valuing the family home, so if you are thinking about filing for divorce and have substantial real estate holdings, you should consider contacting an experienced Round Rock high asset divorce attorney who can ensure that your property is appraised by a qualified expert.

Comparable Sales

For a marital estate to be fairly divided, the value of a couple’s property must be accurately assessed. When it comes to real estate, this usually means that the parties will need to hire an appraiser who can estimate value based on current market conditions and recent sales of comparable properties in the area. When dealing with especially valuable properties, the appraisal process also often includes consideration of additional features of the property in question, which could make it more valuable than other similar properties. Unfortunately, valuing the unique features of a property can be a subjective process. For example, one appraiser may include the value of a swimming pool or a four car garage, but fail to take note of marble countertops or custom kitchen appliances during the appraisal process. For this reason, most couples going through a high asset divorce are encouraged to obtain multiple appraisals to ensure that an accurate number is reached.

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Texas divorce lawyerMany couples who decide to get divorced have not even heard of the acceptance of benefits doctrine and so don’t know that it could play a significant role in their divorce proceedings. According to this doctrine, litigants are not permitted to accept the benefits of a property settlement and then later decide to challenge it. The only exception to this rule is when the litigant can provide proof that the ruling should be overturned due to special circumstances. This is a difficult task, so if you formerly accepted a property settlement, but later decided to challenge it, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced Round Rock high asset divorce attorney who can explain your legal options.

What Is the Acceptance of Benefits Doctrine?

Just last year, the Texas Supreme Court grappled with the acceptance of benefits doctrine in the case of Kramer v. Kastleman, which involved a couple who had signed a property settlement agreement prior to their divorce. The judge later orally approved the agreement and granted a divorce, although he didn’t issue a written decree until almost a year later. However, before the written decree was issued, the wife rescinded her earlier agreement to the settlement, arguing that her former husband coerced her signature and so committed fraud.

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Texas divorce lawyerOwning a business with a spouse is a relatively common practice, and while many of these types of businesses are successful and lucrative, they can also raise a host of complicated issues in the event of a divorce. This is because couples who own companies together must grapple with dividing the business if they later decide to dissolve their marriage, which can be difficult if both parties wish to retain an active role in management or there is disagreement regarding the value of the company itself. For help addressing the fate of your own company after divorce, please contact a member of our high asset divorce legal team for advice.

The Importance of Business Appraisals

The first step in these types of cases is to determine the value of the business in question, as this will affect how and whether the company should be divided between the spouses. Like any other asset, there are professionals who specialize in appraising businesses. These individuals assist divorcing couples who own a business together by determining the fair market value of the company, which refers to the amount that a buyer would be willing to pay for a business from a seller who wants to sell but is under no necessity to do so.

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Texas high asset divorce attorney, Texas complex divorce lawyerOne of the most contentious issues faced by many couples going through a divorce is who will retain ownership of the family home. Texas is a community property state, which means that all assets acquired by a couple during their marriage must be divided equitably upon divorce. The family home falls under this category as well, which means that if a couple is unable to come to an agreement outside of court, a judge will need to devise an equitable arrangement. Property division is a complicated legal issue, which can be made even more complex by the emotionally charged nature of many divorces, so if you are considering a divorce and have concerns about property division, it is important to contact an experienced complex divorce attorney who can explain your options.

Community Property

All property acquired during a marriage will need to be divided during a divorce, including:

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Texas high asset divorce attorney, Texas postnuptial agreement lawyerWhile most people have heard of prenuptial agreements, many are unaware that couples can also enter into what are known as postnuptial agreements. Postnuptial agreements are written contracts that are entered into by two parties who are already married. Essentially, postnuptial agreements dictate how a couple’s assets will be divided in the event of death or divorce and so can significantly simplify divorce proceedings. However, not all postnuptial agreements are enforceable, so if you are considering entering into a postnuptial agreement or believe that yours does not meet state requirements, it is important to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who will aggressively represent your interests, whether during settlement proceedings or in court.

Dividing Marital Property

In Texas, all property obtained over the course of a couple’s marriage is community property and is usually split equitably between the divorcing spouses. However, if a couple does not have a prenuptial agreement, but does not want to leave the division of their property up to a judge, they can choose to draft a postnuptial agreement that arranges for the division or exchange of some or all of the community property. Furthermore, as part of the exchange, a couple may also agree that any income from the exchanged property will become the separate property of one spouse.

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