High Net Worth Divorce
Divorce is never easy for anyone of any background. However, the more assets/wealth one or both spouses have, either separately or collectively, the more complicated the dissolution is. This is especially true for individuals and married couples who have what is considered a high net worth of approximately $1 million or more in total assets. Although this amount may seem absurd, it’s not uncommon for people to collect assets that amount to this much if they have worked a considerable length of time in their field.
High net worth dissolutions typically involve high-value stock options, expensive assets like motor vehicles and boats, real estate, retirement plans, and trust accounts. Determining a fair and just division of such complex assets is by no means an easy task and unfortunately there is a lot of room for error if an individual plans to handle their divorce without representation.
If you are currently in the throes of a high-net divorce, contact Horak Law for legal representation.
High Net Worth Divorce Attorney, Houston TX | Horak Law
Don’t take any chances by representing yourself in a high net worth divorce. The risks of doing so will greatly outweigh the cost of hiring a family law attorney as all your assets/community property is on the line. Instead contact Horak Law for experienced legal advice and representation coming from a lawyer with over ten years in the business.
Set up your first consultation with Matthew Horak of Horak Law by calling our office at (713) 225-8000 or simply submitting an online contact form. Horak Law has offices in both The Woodlands and Houston, but we accept clients throughout the State of Texas including Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Liberty County, Galveston County, Harris County, Liberty County, and Waller County, TX.
Dividing High Value Assets
Dividing assets and property is typically the hardest obstacle to tackle in a high net worth divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement, the couple must unanimously agree on how assets are divided in order to finalize the dissolution without court interference. However, if one or both parties contest the divorce decree’s terms on asset division, then the issue may be pushed to the courts to determine a decision.
If the matter is brought to court, the couple’s assets/property will be subject to common law for property ownership. That means all property will be classified as either separate or community property based on how it was obtained. Any property acquired during a marriage is deemed community property, and therefore is subject to fair and just division by the courts. Separate property solely belongs to one party and must be obtained prior to the marriage.
In order to prove an asset is separate property, the spouse must prove by clear and convincing evidence they acquired it before the marriage or during the marriage by gift, devise, or descent. Compensation awards for any injuries suffered by one spouse during the marriage (with the exception of damages for lost wages) is considered separate property.
It’s not uncommon for couples to have a wide range of costly assets as community property which includes marital homes, family businesses, savings accounts, stock options, vacation homes, investment properties, retirement accounts, and so much more. If the marriage was particularly long, it can be even more difficult to split assets as separate and community assets may be commingled. For these reasons, often financial experts are employed to provide testimony in a high net worth divorce.
For example, if an individual purchased an investment property prior to marriage, then it’s considered separate property. However, if over time the individual and their new spouse renovated the real estate using some community property—then the spouse could have a strong argument they have an interest in that property upon dissolution.
Hiding Assets in a High Net Worth Divorce
Since so much is on the line with a high net divorce, it’s not uncommon for one spouse to try and hide or conceal assets in an effort to avoid division. Spouses will typically do this if they feel entitled to that asset and feel they may be receiving an unfair share by the courts. Although there may be many reasons to this, concealing assets during active dissolution proceedings in illegal in the State of Texas.
Those who are found hiding assets could be charged with fraud as a result. If the judge believes the individual has committed the offense, then they will calculate the value depleted from the community property as a result of the fraud and then calculate the value of the reconstituted estate. A reconstituted estate is essentially the total value of the community estate that would have existed if fraud had not occurred.
Once the reconstituted estate has been calculated, the judge will then divide in a manner that is deemed just and right by the court.
Rules for Community and Separate Property Division – Visit the official website for the Texas Statutes to read the section of the Family Code that governs separate and community property in Texas. Access the page to learn more about interest in employee benefits, insurance proceeds spousal liability, and more.
Marital Property Award Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Statutes to learn more about property division in the State. Access the site to learn how retirement and employment benefits are divided and read the precise legal definition of fraud on the community.
Houston High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer | Harris County & Montgomery County
If you are currently struggling with a high net worth divorce, call Horak Law. Our family law attorney Matthew Horak will take the time to listen to your story and utilize whatever legal strategies necessary to preserve your interests. We understand how important it is to have ownership of property you’re entitled to, so we will work tirelessly to ensure you achieve a favorable result.
Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation in The Woodlands or Houston, TX