When you and your spouse shared a high number of assets, it could make
your divorce that much more complicated. Even though much of the divorce
process remains the same, couples with a high net-worth may need additional
time and resources to help divide all of their properties, investments,
and other assets. In order to avoid any potential blunders, it is important
that you work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through your
high net-worth divorce.
High Net-Worth Divorce Basics
A high net-worth divorce, or a high-asset divorce, refers to a divorce
where the couple shares assets of significant monetary value. This can
include any assets accumulated during the marriage or shared between spouses,
such as business acquisitions, real estate investments, personal properties,
personal investments, stocks and bonds, collectibles, costly possessions,
or retirement and pension funds.
How Division of Property Affects High-Asset Divorce
In Texas, at the beginning of a divorce, both couples must reveal all of
their assets in an official court document. Hiding any documents is against
the law, and could have serious legal repercussions. Texas is a community
property state, which means all assets owned during the marriage are considered
the property of both spouses. There are a few exceptions, such as family
heirlooms or inheritances, which may be considered separate property owned
by that individual, but everything else is shared.
All community property is subject to division, and will be divvied up between
the spouses equitably, but not equally. This means the court will determine
how to divide assets fairly, which means it may not be split 50/50 when
all I said and done. Because this process can be subjective and is determined
by the judge, it is crucial to have the reliable guidance of an experienced
family law attorney fighting on your side. Whether your top priority is
keeping your home, vehicles, business, or investments, an experienced
high-asset divorce attorney can create a solid legal plan and negotiate
to protect your wishes.
Protecting Your Business
If you own your own business, you might be concerned about how a divorce
could impact your work. An established high-asset attorney can value your
business interests and other relevant assets to better determine your
company’s value and work it into your divorce negotiations. Retaining
your business and keeping it whole is paramount, and we want to help ensure
your business interests remain protected. If you and your spouse share
a business, we can work with you to determine the best possible way to
protect your interests while planning for beneficial divorce negotiations
to obtain your ideal outcome.
Handling Spousal Maintenance
Protecting your assets might be your primary focus as you begin the divorce
process, but you might also want to start thinking about how spousal maintenance
might affect you. Whether you are the main breadwinner in your household,
a homemaker, or full-time parent, it is important that you consider whether
or not your spouse will ask for support payments, or if you will request
them from your spouse. Spousal maintenance is a regular payment designed
to help the receiving spouse maintain the same standard of living they
enjoyed during the marriage. If both you and your spouse earn roughly
the same amount, you might not have to worry about spousal support, however,
it is usually a key factor in high net-worth divorces. If you don’t
work, earn significantly less than your spouse, or have spent the majority
of your marriage caring primarily for your children rather than working,
you may want to think about how much support you should ask for. Likewise,
if you earn more than your spouse and expect that they will ask for maintenance,
discuss the potential with your attorney and think about how these negotiations
could impact your income and cost of living.
Other Factors To Consider
Many couples with a high net-worth decide to establish prenuptial or postnuptial
agreements to better protect their interests should their marriage end.
If you established one of these documents either before or during your
marriage, we can use that document as a basis for your divorce negotiations.
Some of the terms in the document might be outdated or some may be void
for various reasons, in which case we can work with you to determine how
to defend your interests.
Are you going through a high-asset divorce? Contact the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny
to discuss your divorce with our Houston divorce lawyers.