It doesn’t matter if you’re broke, or have a record-setting net worth, when it comes to dissolving a marriage, everyone has the same divorce options at their fingertips. Furthermore, the laws don’t change, either. Whether pauper or prince, the laws in Texas governing property distribution, child support, alimony, and other divorce-related controversies remain the same.
That being said, even if the options are indistinguishable, and the laws don’t change, a high net worth divorce does present its own unique set of challenges. A high net worth divorce is typically one where the assets exceed one million dollars, and with more income, properties, and moving parts involved, the complexities with these types of splits inevitably rises. Especially if there is no prenuptial or marital agreement in place to make the process run more smoothly.
Fortunately, the dedicated attorneys of Neal Ashmore have the knowledge and experience to help our clients through any type of divorce—including the wide range of challenges that often arise in high net divorces, such as:
- Identification of assets;
- Complex property division;
- Business valuation and ownership division;
- Tax considerations; and even,
- Protective measures to shield clients from the financial fallout of divorce.
In evaluating these issues, here’s how the Texas family attorneys at Neal Ashmore will help your high net divorce.
Identification of Assets
In Texas, courts adhere to the laws of community property. In a community property jurisdiction, any assets acquired during the marriage—by either party—are considered marital property, and are subject to an equitable division if the marriage ends. In contrast, property brought into the marriage by the individuals is considered separate property, and will leave with whoever brought it in.
While this sounds simple, next to child custody, property classification is generally one of the most controversial elements of divorce. And since separate property and community property are often commingled during marriage, tracing an asset back to its origins can be no small matter—particularly since most of us are not nearly as good at recording keeping as we should be! Yet years of divorce experience have made the Neal Ashmore attorneys skilled in helping clients identify and trace property, ensuring each partner leaves with the separate property they came in with, no matter how convoluted the asset’s history might be.
Complex Property Division
Even in a typical divorce, determining separate and community property can be daunting. However, for partners with a high net worth, these complexities are significantly compounded. Especially when you consider things like business interests and benefits, stocks, bonds, trusts, retirement plans, and investments into consideration. All of which become significantly more complicated and numerous, the higher your income stretches, involving interest rates, value increases, financial forecasting, and many other multifaceted pecuniary issues. For these reasons, when dealing with high net divorces, the team at Neal Ashmore works in tandem with a certified financial expert, ensuring our legal counsel is backed up by sound principals of economics and fiscal planning.
Business Valuation and Ownership Division
When it comes to business ownership, many of high net worth clients worry how divorce will affect the success and long-term health of the business they’ve worked so hard to build. The first thing to understand, is that divorce is not a death sentence for your business, but rather, just another challenge that we will help you overcome.
In Texas, courts view businesses the same as any other marital property, and in dividing up marital interests, the first thing a judge will do, is figure out whether or not the business was started before or after the marriage. From there, a spouse’s financial interest can be compensated a number of different ways, including paying out their share for the time married, or selling the business and dividing the proceeds. If both partners are amiable to the idea, it’s even possible for them to continue working the business together.
If a business is at the center of your divorce, your Neal Ashmore team will guide you through the options, and help you choose the one that makes the most sense for maintaining the long-term health of your company.
A good, high net divorce attorney understands that assets aren’t the only financial elements at play in a split, but the silent, unseen influence of taxes, as well. At the very least, your divorce will require you to change your filing status, impacting your bottom line every year. However, that’s far from the simplest change. Other divorce-related actions, such as asset liquidation can trigger additional taxes, while alimony and child support can sometimes offer tax write-offs. Even businesses are not exempt from tax changes in divorce, and depending on how your corporation is set up, a marital dissolution can have a significant impact on your taxes for the next fiscal year.
With the help of our financial experts, the team at Neal Ashmore can guide you around the common tax pitfalls, and make sure Uncle Sam doesn’t end up charging you more for your high net divorce than you need.
Those with a high net worth who have yet to tie the knot may also want to consider initiating preventative measures. One way to both protect your assets and simplifying a potential divorce down the line, is to consider a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement, or “prenup,” is a contract entered into by potential marriage partners that can dictate anything from responsibilities during marriage, to property division and alimony in the event of divorce. Far from being a sign of a lack of devotion, a prenuptial agreement is just good sense, and can significantly decrease the cost of time and money involved with divorce, especially when dealing with high net partners.
If you’ve already married, and did not include a prenup as a part of your pre-wedding checklist, it’s not too late to hash out these terms with your partner. Indeed, the Texas Family Code also recognizes marital, or postnuptial agreements between partners, which usually address many of the same items as a prenup, and can be a great way for couples to take control over their own assets. At Neal Ashmore, our attorneys are skilled at drafting both prenuptial and marital agreements alike, and are always happy to assist our clients in dictating the terms of their own property.
High Net Divorce Attorneys in Texas
While the laws may not change, there’s no denying the fact that high net divorces are costlier and more time consuming all around. Without a prenup, these proceedings can be quite drawn out, and may even require clients to initiate temporary orders while the court is deliberating these matters. If you or a loved one needs the help of a high net worth divorce attorney, the Neal Ashmore Family Law Group can help. Call us today at (972) 436-8000, or schedule a consultation online to discuss your specific situation. No matter your income level, martial partners are entitled to an equitable split of community property, and our team of experienced attorneys want to make sure that happens.