Specialist High Asset Worth Divorce Lawyers
High–net–worth divorces are significantly more complex than average divorces, which is why it’s crucial to hire a skilled Houston high-net-worth divorce lawyer. The attorneys of Ramos Law Group have the experience and expertise necessary to successfully navigate this type of divorce.
At the Ramos Law Group, we understand your unique concerns about finding and tracing assets, dividing funds in a variety of holdings, characterizing separate and community property, maintaining privacy, and creating fair provisions for spousal and child support. The high asset divorce attorneys at the Ramos Law Group have a proven track record of negotiating and litigating favorable outcomes in even the most important and highly-contested divorce cases.
What Is a High-Net-Worth Divorce, and How Is It Different?
A high-net-worth divorce is the dissolution of a marriage where the couple has significant assets. The couple usually has a combined net worth exceeding one million dollars. High-net-worth divorces are unique because of the complexity of the assets involved, including real estate, businesses, investments, retirement accounts, and hard-to-value personal property. These divorces differ from traditional divorces in several key ways.
Complex Asset Valuation
High-net-worth divorces often involve a more intricate process of identifying, valuing, and dividing assets. Your attorney will likely suggest hiring professional appraisers, forensic accountants, and financial experts. These industry experts can accurately determine the value of assets and separate marital from separate property. If one spouse suspects the other is hiding or liquidating assets, it might be necessary to hire an investigator.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Couples with significant assets often have prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, which can impact the division of assets and alimony payments. One spouse could contest the validity and interpretation of these agreements, which adds another layer of complexity to the pending divorce proceedings.
Alimony and Child Support
High-net-worth individuals often have a higher earning capacity, which may result in substantial alimony and child support payments. Calculating these payments can be complicated, as they are usually based on the lifestyle the couple and children were accustomed to during the marriage. Disputes over alimony and child support can often drag on for a while, given the amount of money involved.
Significant net worth can mean substantial tax consequences for both parties. Asset division can impact taxable income and deductions. Support payments are no longer taxable income for the recipient spouse, and the paying spouse can’t take a tax deduction anymore. Consulting with tax professionals is crucial to avoid potential tax liabilities and penalties.
How Does the Discovery Process Work in a High-Net-Worth Divorce?
The strategy used during the discovery process often determines the outcome of the case. The attorneys and paralegals at the Ramos Law Group are comfortable managing high volume discovery cases as well as seeking and responding to motions to compel additional discovery.
In a high–net–worth divorce, failure to properly respond to discovery requests can result in financial sanctions issued by the Court. Failure to properly request all relevant information can result in an unfair result as one spouse may be able to successfully hide assets. Failure to properly object to inappropriate or overly broad discovery requests can result in private or proprietary information being turned over to the other party. The information gathered and given away during the discovery process is critical in the ultimate property division.
Expert Testimony During Discovery
After financial information has been gathered during the discovery process, it must be compiled into a format that is clear to the Court. Your Houston high asset divorce attorney assigned to your case will make sure this happens. The Court must understand the nature of the property in order to make a fair division.
High-net-worth divorce cases differ from other divorces in that it is common for one or both parties to hire a valuation expert or tracing expert. A valuation expert determines the value of the property held by the marital estate. Often individuals enter a marriage with substantial assets or perhaps inherit money or property during the marriage. These assets should be characterized as separate property and should not be considered in the division of the estate.
It is the responsibility of the person claiming the property as separate to clearly prove the origin of the asset. If the property is not clearly shown to be separate, the other spouse may be able to claim a portion of that asset.
How Will a High-Net-Worth Divorce Affect My Business?
The impact on your business will depend on its classification as marital or separate property and how you divide it in the divorce. Here’s a look at several ways your business may be affected.
Your attorney might hire a professional business valuation expert to determine the value of your business. In some instances, this process can be time-consuming and disruptive to business operations. The longer the divorce is pending, the worse the income disruption could be.
Division of Business Assets
For a business that’s marital property, it must be divided in the divorce. If you cannot agree on how to split it, the court will do it for you. That outcome might be something neither of you wanted. Options for splitting a business include:
- Selling the business and splitting the proceeds,
- Buying out the other spouse’s interest, or
- Continuing to own and operate the business together.
Each option has its own challenges and may impact operations, employee morale, and future growth. Discuss the pros and cons of each scenario with your Houston high-net-worth divorce lawyer.
If the business has debt, it will be considered during the asset division phase of your divorce. Depending on the agreement, one or both spouses may be responsible for repaying the debt, which can impact cash flow and financial stability.
Dividing business assets in a high-net-worth divorce can have significant tax consequences. Transferring or selling ownership stakes may trigger capital gains taxes, while allocating business debt can impact deductible interest expenses. Consulting with a tax professional is essential to minimize potential tax liabilities.
Mediation and Arbitration
Privacy is an especially important consideration in a high–net–worth divorce. Mediation and arbitration are a confidential alternative to hearings in open court. Additionally, it may be important to seal your divorce to prevent it from becoming a part of the public record.
Child and Spousal Support
Spousal support is frequently an issue in cases where there are substantial assets to divide, as is child support. Guideline child support is based on an individual’s net monthly income. Child support is currently ‘capped’, and only the first $9,200 of net monthly income is considered in many cases. Child support can be awarded above this cap by showing that the proven needs of the child exceed the amount of money that would be awarded under the maximum guideline child support.
How Will My-High-Net Worth Divorce Affect Custody and Support?
Custody and support in a high-net-worth divorce in Houston are subject to Texas family law, the same as a standard divorce. Like other states, the primary focus is what’s in your child’s best interest. While the financial resources available to you as a parent may affect certain aspects of custody and support, the primary considerations remain the same.
While courts generally encourage joint custody, your available resources allow for more creative and flexible custody arrangements. Shared parenting and nesting arrangements are popular examples. When deciding custody, the judge will look at your ability to provide a stable home environment and whether you have the financial means to support your child’s needs.
In Texas, child support is calculated based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income up to a certain cap. However, in high-net-worth divorces, the court has the discretion to deviate from the standard guidelines. That means the judge might order additional support to maintain your child’s current lifestyle, including educational expenses, extracurricular activities, and healthcare.
With a high-net-worth divorce, spousal support awards may be higher due to the higher earning capacity of one or both parties. The duration and amount of support will depend on factors such as the length of the marriage, the earning ability of each spouse, and the standard of living established during the marriage.
What Are the Risks Involved With a High-Net-Worth Divorce?
Several risks of high-net-worth divorce can affect both parties’ financial and emotional well-being. Let’s look at some of these risks.
The division of complex assets can result in unforeseen tax liabilities, diminished investment returns, and liquidity issues. Additionally, the cost of professional services, such as attorneys, appraisers, and accountants, can be substantial.
The stress and uncertainty of a high-net-worth divorce can take a significant emotional toll on both spouses and their children. Maintaining open communication and focusing on your children’s best interests can help mitigate these risks.
In some cases, the details of a high-net-worth divorce may become public, potentially damaging the reputation and privacy of both parties. Collaborative divorce or mediation can be a more discreet alternative to litigating the divorce in court.
As mentioned, a high-net-worth divorce involving a business may disrupt operations, impact employee morale, and affect the business’s future growth and profitability. Retaining experienced professionals, such as family law attorneys, financial advisors, and tax experts, is crucial. That will help navigate the complexities of a high-net-worth divorce and protect your interests.
Call for Expert Help Navigating Divorce
If you’re looking for a lawyer for a high-net-worth divorce in Texas, the The lawyers at Ramos Law Group can work with you throughout the discovery process, valuation process, and child or spousal support determination. Contact our experienced high asset divorce lawyers today for help.
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Our Client Testimonials
The decision to end my 25-year marriage was not an easy one, but hiring the Ramos Law Group was. From the initial consultation to the execution of the Divorce Decree everyone at the firm displayed the utmost professionalism and I was treated as if I was their only client. My attorney Lindsey, always provided precise legal guidance, was usually one step ahead of the opposing counsel, and had a superb understanding of how things would play out in the court room. Additionally, whenever my case needed a little extra horsepower, Mary provided that "surge" to keep things on track.
"Ms. Ramos and her entire staff worked with professionalism and compassion to guide me through the most difficult time of my life and to an outcome that was best for my family and myself. Ramos Law is incredible and I highly, highly recommend their services."
"I was recommended to see Mary Ramos for my on coming custody case,it was the best thing I could've done honestly.The Ramos law group was quick with emailed responses and telephone calls,informative with ANY questions I had and they also took action with what they thought would work,which it did,I had money troubles and they were still willing to help they sent me with a younger lawyer Lindsey Lewis to help save some money and she was the best!She knew what she was doing and Mary was still on my case to make sure things went smoothly and to catch any details Lindsey and I might have missed.All in all I am a very satisfied client and if I ever needed a family lawyer again I would come back.My case was won as I received primary for my daughter which is exactly what I asked for.If you're willing to listen to what they have to say and follow their guidance they're definitely worth hiring.I thought I wanted sole custody for my daughter and they explained that wasn't in the best interest for her and honestly they were right,they speak to you on a professional level and also a real level of how things are actually going to work and what could happen if you take a certain action.They definitely care about their clients and make their own bond with you,you're not just money in their pockets you turn into family. "
"I received excellent advice and representation from Ms. Lindsey Lewis. She kept me updated at every step of the process, and I never felt as if my case was set aside. I would hire The Ramos Law Group in the future. "
"I started my divorce with a lawyer who was not very responsive. My divorce case was complicated and needed more laborious scrutiny. Since the case was not moving forward I had to switch lawyers. Made the switch to Ramos Law group. Since the very first day Mary and her team have been very efficient and meticulous. Since the case was complicated the team had to go through myriads of pages in discovery. I was pleased with the legal team that helped us handle the paperwork in a very timely manner. All my questions were answered very promptly. The relay of information was easy with their software system. We finally had a law firm that we could trust. My divorce was finalized and I only have Mary and her team to thank for going through a difficult divorce. I would highly recommend the Ramos law group for their help and support for getting my life back on track. "