When it comes to divorce, the process can be emotionally and financially draining. But for individuals with substantial assets, it becomes even more complex. High net worth divorce suits require special attention and expertise to ensure a fair and equitable resolution. Finding the right attorney for your high net worth divorce is crucial.

Here we will explore what constitutes a high net worth divorce, how assets are divided in Texas, specific challenges clients may face in high net worth divorce cases, and how a Houston high net worth divorce attorney can be your lifeline during this challenging journey.

If you are in need of a Houston high net worth divorce attorney, don’t hesitate to contact The Stout Law Firm today.

What Is a High Net Worth Divorce? 

A high net worth divorce involves couples with significant assets and wealth, typically with the couple possessing a combined net worth exceeding one million dollars. These assets may include real estate, business interests, investments, retirement accounts, jewelry, valuable collections, and more.

These divorces often require specialized legal expertise to ensure the complexities of the estate are understood, including tax implications relating to certain assets, how to value business interests and real estate, and to ensure an equitable distribution of these assets.

Asset Division in Texas

In Texas, the law follows a community property system, which means that generally, assets acquired during the marriage are considered community property and are subject to a just and right division. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean a 50/50 split of assets.

Texas law aims for a “just and right” division, which may involve a more complex analysis of factors like the earning capacity, contributions, and needs of each spouse. Additionally, debt incurred during the marriage is subject to division between the spouses. 

Property, including financial assets, acquired before the marriage are considered separate property and are not split between the couple or subject to division by the court. However, separate property that becomes so commingled with community property that you can’t identify and divide it, may be considered community property since it cannot be effectively traced to a separate property claim.

A knowledgeable high net worth divorce lawyer in Houston can help determine whether an asset is separate or community property and help with negotiations in the division of property.

Exceptions to Presumption of Community Property 

While Texas is a community property state and assets acquired during the marriage are presumed to be community,  there are exceptions to this general presumption. Two common exceptions include gifts given to just one spouse during the marriage and damages earned in a personal injury settlement which do not relate to wage compensation, both of which are the separate property of the receiving spouse.

It is the receiving spouse’s burden however, to prove by clear and convincing evidence how the property was acquired. Further, if you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that divides property differently, it may override the community property laws.  

Issues Clients May Face in a High Net Worth Divorce 

High net worth divorce cases often come with their own unique set of challenges. Some common issues that clients may face in a high net worth divorce include: 

  • Valuation of complex assets. Determining the value of businesses, intellectual property, investments, and real estate can be intricate, requiring the expertise of financial professionals.
  • Splitting businesses. Splitting up business interests often becomes complicated and sometimes contentious, especially when dealing with closely held business interests. Dividing a business requires knowledge of the law, how business entities are structured, the financial implications of owning shares or agreeing to a payout for the value of the business itself. 
  • Trusts. Trusts are complex legal entities, involving unique structures, rules for distribution and access. Dealing with trusts in divorce suits can be very complex, particularly for high net worth individuals. Spouses may be seeking to access their partner’s trust or protect their own, which in either case requires knowledge of the intricacies of how trusts should be treated in family law suits.  
  • Tax implications. The tax consequences of asset division and spousal support in high net worth divorces can be significant. Our attorneys have the knowledge in tax law to navigate these issues effectively.
  • Hidden assets. In some cases, one spouse may attempt to hide assets or income, such as attempting to move assets into a non-disclosed account or move their money offshore. Our high net worth divorce lawyers have the experience to uncover hidden assets through forensic accounting and investigations.
  • Spousal support. High-income earners may be subject to substantial spousal support obligations. Negotiating fair support agreements requires a skilled attorney.
  • Child Related Issues. If you have children, custody and child support are significant matters to address. In high net worth divorces children’s expenses often include private school tuition, summer camps, intensive extracurricular activities, most of which would not generally be covered by child support. Our lawyers will fight for your child custody rights and fair child support determination and to ensure your children’s needs are met.

While high net worth divorces often involve complicated issues, an experienced high net worth attorney in Houston can help you navigate these issues successfully.

How a High Net Worth Divorce Attorney Can Help You

A high net worth divorce lawyer brings many benefits to the table. These benefits include: 

  • Legal expertise. Our attorneys understand the complexities of high net worth divorces and can navigate the legal landscape effectively.
  • Asset valuation. We can work with financial experts to ensure a proper valuation of assets such as real estate, business valuations, investments, retirement accounts, bank accounts, jewelry, art, cars, planes, and boats to help protect your financial interests.
  • Strategic negotiation. Our attorneys will develop a strategic approach to negotiations, aiming for a favorable settlement or advocating for your rights in court if necessary.
  • Privacy protection. High net worth divorces often want to avoid public attention and ensure their assets and the intricacies of their divorce agreement remain private.  Your attorney can help protect your privacy during this challenging time.
  • Experience with complex financial matters. We handle complex financial matters, such as trusts, investments, and retirement accounts, to help ensure a fair distribution.

Consulting with a knowledgeable high net worth attorney is essential in order to protect your rights and ensure an equitable division of assets during a high net worth divorce. If you would like to learn more about your options during your high net worth divorce, contact our office today.  

Contact an Experienced High Net Worth Lawyer Today

A high net worth divorce in Houston can be a complicated and emotionally challenging process. Choosing the right high net worth divorce attorney is essential to protect your financial interests and navigate the complexities of asset division and other legal issues.

The Stout Law Firm, PLLC, is a Houston-based firm that specializes in family law, including high net worth divorce. Our attorneys are prepared to reach a fair settlement or to take your case to trial. With our attorneys by your side, you can navigate this challenging journey with confidence and help secure a fair resolution that safeguards your financial future. 

Our experienced attorneys handle other types of family law practice areas as well, including: 

Contact us today for your initial consultation.