While going through a divorce is never easy, high asset couples face some unique challenges. If you are part of a high asset couple, you need a divorce attorney who knows how to protect your legal rights and financial interests. Among other things, high net worth couples may need to worry about identifying assets, dealing with complex property, preserving wealth, and avoiding unnecessary tax penalties. Here, our Houston high net worth divorce lawyers highlight five important issues that you should consider.
Five Unique Legal Issues That Often Impact High Net Worth Couples In Divorce
- Identification and Division of Complex Property and Assets
As a starting point, high asset couples often own complex property and assets. You cannot reach a fair divorce settlement until you and your partner know exactly what is owned—both jointly and individually. It is crucial that you take the time to make a comprehensive inventory of all your assets. Completing an inventory of marital property can sometimes prove to be difficult. In some cases, a spouse may even try to conceal assets from their partner. If you believe that your spouse is hiding assets, you should call a divorce attorney right away. While parties to a divorce have an obligation to make financial disclosures, some people do improperly conceal assets.
- Valuation and Division of Business Interests
Many high net worth couples in Southeast Texas own a business or have some form of business interests. Dealing with business assets in a divorce can be especially challenging. Not only can businesses or entities be difficult to value, but they can also be difficult to divide—particularly if you own a large stake in a small business or a family business. If you are a business owner and you are getting divorced in the Houston area, you need a professional business valuation. From there, a lawyer can help you determine how to best protect your personal and professional interests. Do not let your divorce cause damage to your company.
- Retirement Assets and Retirement Accounts
You need to be careful when dividing retirement accounts and retirement assets in a divorce. One of the biggest mistakes that you could make in a divorce is to simply withdraw your holdings from a 401(k) or IRA and split them in half. If you have money or assets within a tax-advantaged retirement account, you likely need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A QDRO is a specialized type of legal order that allows divorcing couples to effectively divide retirement assets without incurring tax penalties. Making early withdrawals without a professionally drafted QDRO in place could subject you to otherwise avoidable early surrender fees or tax implications.
- Settling and Dividing Marital Debts
High net worth couples are also more likely to carry a considerable amount of debt. Whether it is a mortgage, a vehicle loan, a business loan, or credit card debt, it is imperative that your debt is carefully considered as part of any divorce settlement. You do not want to be stuck responsible for an unjust share of the debt, In many cases, loans/debts need to be restructured as part of a divorce settlement. As an example, if both of your names are on an auto loan or mortgage, you may want to make a clean financial break by restructuring that debt so that one partner’s name comes off of it.
- Alimony (Spousal Maintenance)
When a Texas marriage lasted for longer than ten years, the financially disadvantaged partner may be entitled to receive spousal maintenance (referred to as alimony in other states) payments. Post-divorce maintenance is far more likely to be awarded in a high net worth divorce. When there is a significant gap between the current and expected income of each party, spousal support can be an issue. If you have any specific questions or concerns about spousal support—whether you may be entitled to receive support or you think you may be required to make payments—contact an experienced Houston, TX spousal maintenance attorney for immediate assistance
Get Help From Our Houston, TX High Net Worth Divorce Attorneys Today
At the Ramos Law Group, PLLC, our Texas divorce lawyers are skilled, attentive advocates for clients. We have extensive experience handling high asset marital separations. If you and your spouse are going through a divorce, we can help. To schedule a strictly confidential consultation, please contact our law firm right away. With offices in Houston, Sugar Land, and The Woodlands, we serve communities throughout Southeast Texas, including in Harris County, Fort Bend County, and Montgomery County.
Last Updated on May 23, 2023 by Mary E. Ramos