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TX divorce lawyerThe tax reform laws that went into effect early last year have had a significant impact on American taxpayers, especially couples with diverse or valuable assets who are attempting to obtain a divorce. Fortunately, there are a few tax strategies that can help divorcing couples reach a settlement agreement that is in all parties’ best interests. For help navigating your own complex divorce, please contact a dedicated high asset divorce lawyer who has the resources and experience to assist and advise you.

Selling the Family Home

Spouses who have made the decision to file for divorce are encouraged to take a number of steps that could assist them with their tax situation following the dissolution of their marriage. Selling the family home, for instance, can save couples a significant amount of money following divorce. This is largely due to the fact that property taxes are now no longer fully deductible, which means that if one party retains the family home, he or she could end up with a much higher property tax payment that in previous years. Similarly, selling secondary real estate or vacation homes can help couples consolidate their funds and secure their financial future going forward.

Negotiating the Value of Dependents

Tax experts also recommend that divorcing couples with significant assets who also share children, negotiate the value of those dependents during the settlement process. This is an important step because the recent tax reform also lowered the exemption that a parent can claim for each child, although the child tax credit was increased from $2,000 to $1,000. Unfortunately, that credit begins to phase out for those with $200,000 or more of income. However, this can be countered through negotiation by allowing the lower-earning spouse to claim those credits in exchange for other 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 lawyerMany couples who decide to file for divorce are willing to communicate openly and honestly about their assets in an effort to ensure that their divorce is resolved as smoothly and as amicably as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, especially in high asset divorces when valuable property is at stake. In these cases, it is not uncommon for one spouse to try and hide assets from the other in an effort to avoid reaching a fair property settlement. If you believe that your spouse is hiding assets in order to avoid dividing them equitably upon divorce, you should speak with an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help you determine your next steps.

Why Hiding Assets Is Problematic

Texas is a community property state, which means that most family law courts divide marital assets owned by a divorcing couple fairly and equally upon dissolution of the marriage. Hiding assets makes this endeavor nearly impossible and could leave one spouse struggling financially after the divorce is finalized. Unfortunately, this type of conduct is particularly common in high asset divorce cases, where one spouse wants to keep a unique or valuable asset to him or herself.

What Are the Penalties for Hiding Assets in Texas?

Because hiding assets is so detrimental to the process of creating a fair property settlement, Texas courts impose severe penalties on those who attempt to defraud their spouses in this way. For instance, a divorce judge who is confronted with evidence of concealed assets could order the at-fault party to give up the asset to the other spouse or could award a greater share of the community assets to the innocent party. Parties who choose to hide assets during divorce could even face charges from the IRS if those actions had tax implications.

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TX divorce lawyerIt’s usually a good idea for those who are going through a divorce, especially couples with unique or valuable assets, to sit down and make a list of all unusual assets that might otherwise get left off a list of marital property. To ensure that all of your own property is accounted for and that any property settlement agreements that are presented to you and your spouse are fair to both parties, please contact a member of our Leander high asset divorce legal team today.

Unusual Assets

A couple’s marital assets usually consist of any property that was earned or brought into the home during the marriage itself. In fact, some separate property, which is made up of assets that were brought into a marriage, can become marital assets if they are commingled with marital property. While most couples remember to account for the family home, vehicles, real estate, and bank accounts when creating a list of their marital assets, it is not uncommon for a family to forget to list and value more unusual assets, such as:

  • Animals, including not only the family pet, but also livestock;
  • Memberships to gyms, golf courses, and country clubs;
  • Benefits from previous employers, such as pensions and retirement accounts;
  • Pre-paid cemetery plots;
  • Capital loss carryovers for prior tax returns;
  • Life insurance plans;
  • Interest acquired from loans made to relatives or friends;
  • Digital assets, including not only websites and blogs, but also cyber currency, such as Bitcoin;
  • Trademarks and patents;
  • Airline reward points, such as frequent flyer miles;
  • Credit card reward points;
  • Royalties;
  • Timeshare interests; and
  • The contents of a safe deposit box.

Even valuable assets in the family home can be overlooked during divorce, including:

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TX divorce lawyerAlthough prenuptial agreements are not something that business owners typically think about when they become romantically involved with another person, the reality is that making these types of considerations is extremely important for those who are considering marriage. Entering into this type of contract before a marriage takes place can give both parties peace of mind, while also ensuring that a company’s assets are protected in the event of divorce. For help drafting or enforcing your own prenuptial agreement, please contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can assist you.

Owning a Business Prior to Marriage

If a person owns a business going into a marriage, then those assets will most likely fall under the category of separate property in the event of divorce. However, any growth in value and earnings stemming from the business can and probably will be considered community property, which means that if a couple decides to divorce, the original business owner would need to split those earnings down the middle. Furthermore, if the spouse who didn’t originally own the business ended up substantially contributing to it during the marriage, then that business interest could be considered commingled with the couple’s community property and so converted into marital property for the purpose of division upon divorce.

A couple can forestall all of these complications by entering into a prenuptial agreement before getting married. For instance, the agreement could include provisions explaining that any increase in value or earnings from the business during the course of the marriage will still remain the original owner’s separate property in the event of divorce.

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TX divorce lawyerAll Texas divorces must be conducted in compliance with state law. However, this doesn’t mean that all divorces are the same. High asset divorces, in particular, come with unique issues. For this reason, it is especially important for those with significant, unique, or diverse assets who have decided to dissolve their marriages, to retain an experienced high asset divorce attorney who is well-versed in these issues and can ensure that their interests and rights are protected.

Financial Complication

One of the most difficult parts of the divorce process is deciding how assets will be divided. This is especially true for those with significant assets who don’t have a prenuptial agreement, as the process of identifying, appraising, and attempting to divide property is much more complex. In these cases, it is not uncommon for couples to have rare or unique property, such as real estate, antiques, artwork, and jewelry, that is both difficult to appraise and divide. It is also much easier in these situations for one spouse to try to hide specific assets, which is both unlawful and could result in an unfair property settlement agreement.

Emotional Implications

Even when a couple has an amicable relationship, going through a divorce is stressful. In many cases, these high emotions are only fueled in high asset divorces, as there is simply more to fight over. It’s also not uncommon for one spouse to have more knowledge of finances and property ownership, in which case, the other party could end up with an unfair settlement if the more financially knowledgeable spouse failed to disclose the ownership of certain property. This, in turn, can make the divorce process even more emotional for the wronged party.

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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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TX divorce lawyerDivorce proceedings can be time-consuming and emotional, so many couples breathe a sigh of relief when they are able to successfully negotiate a settlement out of court. Unfortunately, just because parties have agreed to a settlement, does not mean that the other party will comply with its terms. This is especially true in cases where a settlement is the result of a court order and not negotiations between the parties. A failure to abide by a settlement agreement can have devastating consequences, particularly when high assets are involved, as one party’s intransigence could lead to significant assets being tied up and made inaccessible for years. This, in turn, can make it difficult to make ends meet, pay bills, and generally, move on with your life, so if your former spouse is defying all or part of your divorce settlement agreement, it is critical to speak with an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help ensure that the terms of your agreement are respected.

The Terms of a High Asset Divorce Settlement

While some former spouses may refuse to comply with a court order out of bitterness, most are simply unable to do so. This is especially common when it comes to a failure to pay child support or alimony and the non-paying party was recently let go or fired from his or her job. Alternatively, a party could be failing to comply with a custody order because his or her work schedule conflicts with that arrangement, or because he or she is struggling with health issues. Whatever the reason, in these cases, it is up to that party to seek a modification of the order. Otherwise, they will be subject to the legal repercussions of failing to comply with the terms of a court order.

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