High Net Worth Divorce
High net worth spouses or couples with a substantial marital estate have more complex divorces. These cases are often more complicated because they can involve intricate business valuations, diverse real estate holdings, and/or high standards of living. It is important for these couples in the Woodlands to understand how specific aspects of the divorce process may impact you differently than other married couples who are filing for divorce with a more simplified asset portfolio.
When it comes to the financial side of any divorce, the first step is to value all of the parties’ assets. The more assets there are, and the nature of the asset mix, the more expertise and time is required to determine their values, and the more likely that disputes will arise over the value of certain assets.
Liquid assets (cash or near cash equivalents such as assets in money markets or bank accounts) are not usually as complex to value as real estate holdings, closely-held business interests, complex trusts retirement assets, or other investments.
An attorney that is not only experienced in handling divorces but is also familiar with the complex issues that arise from a complicated asset portfolio, is imperative in high net worth divorces. These divorces often require the delicate use and selection of experts to value businesses, the tax consequences of restructuring assets, and sometimes lifestyle experts. As a high-net worth client, you expect your attorneys to be knowledgeable, responsive, and capable of fighting for your rights and entitlements.
Division of Marital Property in High Asset Divorces
One of the most complicated features of a high asset divorce is the division of marital property. For spouses who are filing for divorce in the Woodlands, the Texas Family Code governs the manner in which a court makes decisions about property division, which must be done in a “just and right” manner.
In Texas, courts follow a theory of equitable division when dividing marital property. As such, property of the marriagewill be divided in a manner that is equitable rather than one that is equal. In some cases, however, an equitable division is indeed an equal division. Generally, high net worth divorces involve very complicated property division issues including closely-held businesses, separate property or foreign assets. Prior to the division of marital property, spouses will need to make a full and complete accounting of assets and debts to be divided. It is extremely important to be honest in listing all assets and debts.
Elaine Berkeley has over 15 years’ experience dealing with complicated family law issues. If you are in the Woodlands, Conroe or the Houston area and have need a divorce, contact HCWD, PLLC to speak personally with a family law attorney.