Every divorce is unique. Some divorces are relatively straightforward processes because the couple has few assets and no children. Other divorces, such as contentious divorces between parents and high net worth divorces, are more complex because there are additional considerations the couple and the court have to make to ensure the resulting divorce settlement is appropriate and fair.
A high net worth divorce is one between a couple with significant assets. Texas is a community property state, which means that most assets accumulated during a marriage belong to both partners. When the couple divorces, their assets must be divided in a way that is “just and right,” which provides both partners with an equitable share of the marital property.
Assets that Could Complicate a Divorce
Examples of assets that can be present in high net worth divorces include:
- Real estate;
- Brokerage accounts;
- Small businesses and professional practices;
- Assets held in trusts;
- Complex assets;
- High value personal property like luxury vehicles, art, and jewelry; and
- Retirement accounts.
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Considerations for a High Net Worth Divorce
Complex assets like those discussed above can be more difficult to value than assets like a house or a piece of personal property. When valuing certain assets, the court must consider not just the asset’s current value, but its potential and likely future value. This could mean allocating portions of your investment portfolio to you and your spouse that provide each with a balance of high- and low-risk investments.
Another issue that can arise in high net worth divorces is the possibility that one or both spouses hid assets to keep them from being divided. This can be accomplished by moving money into secret accounts or accounts held by friends or relatives or making large cash purchases. In these cases, a forensic accountant may need to locate and value all of the couple’s assets so they can be divided fairly.
When a couple’s asset pool includes retirement accounts, the court may issue a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) to name both spouses as beneficiaries on these accounts. This ensures that both partners can access the funds within them.
Aside from financial concerns, high net worth divorces can involve personal attachments to certain assets. When one spouse is a small business owner, for example, retaining control of the business may be a priority for him or her. The court may consider this when determining an appropriate breakdown of the couple’s assets.
Work with an Experienced League City Divorce Attorney
If you have a high net worth and you are considering filing for divorce, work with a divorce lawyer who has specific experience working with high net worth individuals and couples. You cannot assume that your divorce will be anything like a friend or relative’s divorce – get useful, accurate legal guidance for your case from our team of divorce lawyers at Scott M. Brown & Associates. Contact our firm today to set up your initial consultation with us.