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TX high asset divorce lawyerWhile the art scene in Austin is not quite like the art scenes in New York or London, many Austin residents have large collections of valuable artwork, including sculptures, paintings, and other art objects. Many married couples in Austin collect art together, and their homes are filled with their collection. In the event such a married couple decides to get divorced, the matter of the art collection can become extremely contentious. Dividing an art collection can be quite a battle, especially when the parties do not want to see the collection divided at all. To be sure, many people who collect art feel that the collection is priceless and do not want to see any of it sold or distributed. Yet in a high asset divorce in Austin, all community property will need to be distributed between the spouses. And while the parties may personally believe that the collection is priceless, it is possible to place a market value on almost any work of art for the purposes of dividing it in a divorce. Let our Texas high asset divorce lawyers tell you more about dividing art collections in a Texas divorce.

Recognize That the Whole Collection May Be Community Property

As you may know, Texas is a community property state. What does this mean for a high asset divorce and an expensive art collection? Under Texas law, nearly all property (aside from a few exceptions) acquired after the date of the marriage is classified as “community property.” In a Texas divorce, all community property is divided between the spouses. For many married couples in Austin who have been collecting art for years or even decades, most if not all of the collection is likely to be classified as community property and will be divided as part of the divorce.

Determine the Date of Purchase and Other Documentation

If you believe that one or more pieces in the art collection are not community property, you will need to get documentation to prove it. If you purchased the painting prior to the marriage, it is important to find any receipts you have for the piece. Even if you cannot locate a receipt, it may be possible to work with your Austin divorce attorney to gather evidence that proves the painting was in your possession long before you got married and that, accordingly, it should not be part of the division of community property.

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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 lawyerHigh asset divorces are not only complicated because the property that must be divided is valuable, but also because the assets are often difficult to value or to distribute. For instance, it is not uncommon for Texas couples to invest in local operations that are involved in the production of oil, gas, and minerals. While these investments can be extremely valuable, they are also hard to distribute in the event that a couple decides to divorce. If you or your spouse own an interest in an oil, gas, or mineral business and are thinking about dissolving your marriage, you may be facing unique issues when it comes to dividing your assets. Please contact an experienced Cedar Park high asset divorce attorney to learn more about your legal options.

Dividing Assets Equitably

Texas is a community property state, which means that all of a couple’s marital assets must be divided equitably upon divorce. While this usually involves dividing bank account funds, the family home, and retirement funds, it applies equally to unique assets, such as oil, gas, and mineral interests. These types of interests are considered real property and as such, are governed by the same property division principles as any other type of real estate. For this reason, a party can only retain sole ownership of this type of interest, if he or she can prove that the asset qualifies as separate property, which means that he or she:

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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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Texas high asset divorce attorney, Texas divorce laws, Texas complex litigation lawyer, The more assets you and your spouse have, the more complicated your divorce will be. Trying to manage the emotions as well as the future financial impact of the breakup of your marriage is a big job. Before you get too far into discussion about how to split up the property or how support should be paid, make sure you don't overlook these common issues in high-asset divorces.

IRS and Asset Transfer

In a typical divorce, the transfer of ownership of property or assets from one spouse to the other does not create a taxable event. The IRS is not going to charge you income taxes for giving your spouse title to the car in the divorce.

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Texas high asset divorce attorney, divorce negotiations, Texas complex litigation lawyer, With the possible exception of the marital residence, a retirement account is typically the largest asset in a high net worth divorce. After years of saving and planning, it can be quite disconcerting to learn that a retirement nest egg is divisible just like any other marital asset. But, from both a legal and practical perspective, both spouses have made contributions to this account over the years, either by investing money in the plan or investing time in the marriage.

Most employer-sponsored plans, like a 401(k) or pension, require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO); many IRAs can be divided without a QDRO. Many government-sponsored plans, most notably military retirement accounts, require a Division Order (DO), which is similar to a QDRO.

The Formula

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