A high net worth divorce can be a lot more complicated than other divorces. Here’s what you need to know about the process and how to protect your assets.
What Does High Net Worth Mean?
Married people who are “high net worth” have a lot of money and/or assets. This wealth can occur in one of two ways.
First, one or both of the partners may have had a great deal of assets before the marriage. In the second situation, the couple may have earned or received a great deal of wealth while they were married.
The key thing to know is that Texas is a community property state. This means that in a high net worth divorce in Texas, the assets usually will be divided equally. This may include assets you had before the marriage.
The Difference Between a Regular Divorce and a High Net Worth Divorce
Regardless of the amount of money involved, the basic proceedings of a divorce stay the same. Each partner usually has an attorney, they take their case before the family law court, and the judge makes a ruling.
However, a high net worth divorce is more complicated. For one, there are more assets to divide. This means the divorce can take longer–sometimes, much longer. And because the process takes more time, it can also be more expensive–sometimes, much more expensive.
In addition, you may have to pay for a few additional legal procedures. So even though the basic process does not change, resolving the details of a high net worth divorce can make it very different.
How to Prepare for Your High Net Worth Divorce in Texas
One of the first things to do is make sure you have all your legal documents together. The more documentation you can provide, the stronger your case will be. This can be especially important if you are the dependent partner. If your spouse has concealed some of your assets, you will want to find out about it as quickly as possible.
Of course, this sometimes is easier said than done. But if your spouse is not cooperating, your divorce lawyer should be able to secure the necessary documents once the process has begun.
In addition to talking with your divorce attorney, you should also talk to your accountant. He or she can help you understand the tax consequences of your high net worth divorce in Texas.
How Will the Court Divide Your Property?
Property division can be one of the most complex (and contentious) parts of a high net worth divorce. Do you have a vacation home? A boat? A business?
In these situations, the asset can’t just be divided “50-50.” Your spouse will probably hire a skilled divorce lawyer to represent his or her interests–and you will want to have one, too.
Common Mistakes in a High Net Worth Divorce in Texas
One thing that can complicate the process is mistakes made by one or both partners. Here are three common mistakes people make in a high net worth divorce in Texas.
The first mistake is to just “leave it to the court.” In a high net worth divorce, there are many assets to divide. Trusting a judge to handle this fairly is risky, and can have lifelong consequences.
The second mistake is to hide assets from your spouse, or transferring some assets to someone else. In either case, you will regret it if you get caught. Your attorney may lose trust in you. The judge also will be angry with you. And when that judge divides up the assets, you may find out just how angry he or she was.
The other common mistake is the “all-or-nothing” approach. While it’s natural to want to end the marriage quickly, it’s a bad idea to go along with everything offered.
On the other had, it’s also a bad idea to “draw a line in the sand.” Compromise is a big part of most divorces. If you are unwilling to give a little, you are probably just prolonging the process, and adding to your expense. By being willing to give a little, you may be able to get a lot.
Do You Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
No one gets married expecting to get divorced. Even so, many couples sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married. This document explains how the assets will be divided in the event they do get divorced.
If you have a “prenup,” it will figure heavily in the dividing of your wealth. However, be aware it’s possible to invalidate a prenuptial agreement. You will need the help of an experienced divorce lawyer if this is something you are trying to achieve (or avoid).
In a High Net Worth Divorce in Texas, Trust Lawyers, Not Friends
Wealthy people usually have wealthy friends. This means wealthy people also are likely to know other wealthy people who have gotten divorced. If you are in the process of ending your marriage, it’s tempting to rely on the advice of your friends.
This is not a good idea. Every high net worth divorce is different, and each one needs the attention of a skilled legal professional. So if you want to talk with your friends for support and comfort, that’s great. But don’t turn to them for legal advice.
Are you considering a high net worth divorce? Do you have an existing divorce decree you are unhappy with? The attorneys of The Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, have years of experience dealing with these cases. We will guide you through this difficult process with skill, knowledge, and compassion. And we can help you move on with your life–and take with you all of the assets that are fairly yours. Call us today at 817-335-9600.