How to Handle a High Asset Divorce in Texas

How to Handle a High Asset Divorce in Texas

You and your spouse are thinking about splitting up. While you believe it’s for the best, one of things you’re most concerned about is how your assets are going to be divided. If you have a large number of assets, you want to protect them and ensure that you won’t lose everything in your divorce. By finding out more information on how to handle a high asset divorce in Texas, you can determine what steps to take with your circumstances.

Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC in Houston, Texas are certified in mediation, take a collaborative approach with their clients to reach solutions that work for their families, and are devoted entirely to the practice of family law. We are fierce advocates for our clients and we’d be happy to assist you with your divorce. Reach out to us today for an initial consultation.

How the Division of Assets Works in Texas

Texas is a community property state, which means that any property and assets you and your spouse acquired during the marriage are subject to division in a just and right manner, including a high asset divorce. To be clear, all income or assets acquired during marriage are presumed to be community property. Meaning that regardless of whether one spouse works or not, the court will review the entirety of the community estate and divide it in a just and right manner.

Any property you acquired separately prior to your marriage is considered separate property. Separate property also includes items that have been received through inheritance or by gift. Which could be prior or during the marriage. It is the responsibility of the individual asserting a claim of separate property to prove how the property was acquired. A court may not divest an individual of their separate property, therefore you typically get to keep and do not have to share with your spouse in your divorce. The circumstances of each case are very different and consulting with an attorney experienced in handling characterization of property is a critical step in the divorce process.

If you received a personal injury settlement, this would also be separate. However, damages received that are for loss of earnings or earning capacity are not considered separate property. Such damages would be subject to a division in a divorce.

Keep in mind that your spouse is entitled to claim their share of your pension, retirement, or other employee benefits you have. There are particular factors that go into what portion your spouse may be entitled to. Such factors include: length of the marriage, date of the marriage, was the marriage prior or after the date employment, etc. These factors will need to be flushed out during the divorce in order to determine the appropriate portion a spouse may be entitled to. If a retirement plan is going to be divided as part of a divorce, the employer will need to receive a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A QDRO facilitates the division of the retirement in accordance with federal law and allows the employer to make the split.

When going through a high asset divorce in Houston, TX, there are some steps you should take to protect yourself and ensure you have a better chance of getting what you deserve.

List Your Assets and Debts

First, you need to know where you stand when it comes to your assets and debts. List all the ones you know of and if they are separate or shared. Some assets could include:

  • Your marital home
  • Income-generating properties
  • Cars
  • Shared bank accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Retirement account
  • Pension
  • Life insurance policies
  • Boats, trailers, and motorcycles
  • Personal property, like jewelry and antiques

Some of the debts you may have include:

  • Mortgage loan
  • Auto loan
  • Credit card debt
  • Student loans
  • Medical debt
  • Tax debt

You can figure out your net worth by subtracting your liabilities from your assets. It may also be helpful to discuss these assets and liabilities with your financial advisor or planner in order to fully understand the scope of your estate. Then, you can determine if you’re dealing with a high asset divorce. Such understanding will be important information when working with your attorney during the divorce.

Don’t Attempt to Hide Your Assets

Even if you’re afraid of your spouse gaining access to your assets, hiding them is a never a good idea. Parties are generally required to provide verified and sworn Inventory & Appraisements of their assets and liabilities. Hiding or secreting information may be considered perjury, and may cause further consequences during the divorce. Assume that the court is going to find out about everything during your divorce process and be open and honest.

Don’t Spend Tons of Money

You may think you can get out of sharing your assets with your spouse if you simply spend your money. But if you take out a large amount of cash or decide to go on a wasteful spending spree, the court may see it for what it is, and you could end up facing serious consequences. Instead, it’s best to be as responsible as possible and to make sure you use credit and debit cards as well as checks so you can track your spending.

Don’t Rush the Process

Since there are more assets involved in a high asset divorce, the divorce process is likely going to take much longer than usual. It could last several months or years, especially if you have a contentious spouse or you two can’t reach an agreement. You should be as patient as possible and do everything you can to make sure the process goes smoothly. If you don’t have patience, you could rush the divorce proceedings, and not end up getting what you need out of your divorce.

Plan for After Your Divorce

Whether you’re the spouse with more at stake financially, or you believe you could receive assets from a high asset divorce, you need to plan accordingly for life after divorce. It’s a good idea to think about what your situation is going to look like when you’re single again.

First of all, if you and your spouse were working, you won’t be able to rely on two incomes anymore. You’ll probably need to cut back on your expenses when it comes to things you don’t need. This could include cutting out cable, taking fewer vacations, and trading in your large car for a more economical one.

Even if you could get your marital home in a divorce, you may not want it. The expenses could be too much to keep up with. It could be a better idea to sell it and get a more affordable place for yourself.

If you haven’t learned about budgeting, start researching it, especially if you weren’t in charge of paying your bills while you were married. Also look into paying off debt, if you have any, and saving for your future.

If you weren’t working and now you need to work to provide for yourself, look into continuing education programs to further your degree, or search for jobs online. You could also ask a career coach for help to get back into the workforce or get a better, high-paying job. 

Hire the Right Divorce Lawyer

It’s critical to find the right divorce lawyer who has dealt with high asset divorces before. They could assist you with mediation so that you could reach an amicable agreement outside the courtroom and potentially save a lot of money. If an agreement cannot be reached, then your attorney will need to have the necessary experience to present financial evidence during trial. Your divorce lawyer will be on your side and your source of support throughout this tough time. When searching for a lawyer, look for one that not only has the experience, but also the case results to back it up.

Contact Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC

If you need assistance with a high asset divorce in Houston, TX, you can reach out to Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC for help. Make sure you get in touch online or by calling us at (713) 333-4430. We look forward to working with you.

Attorney Shannon Boudreaux at Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC in Houston, TX offers the extensive experience and supportive guidance clients need to get through their divorce or other family matter as favorably as possible.