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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 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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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 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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