If you are considering divorce, or if you have recently filed, it is important to know that high net worth divorces, or high asset divorces, tend to have more complications than other divorce cases. Given that a high net worth divorce will often require the court to classify and value multiple different types of assets, which can have fluctuating market values, working with an experienced Dallas high asset divorce attorney will be critical. As you think through your high net worth divorce, you should consider the following issues.
Documenting Separate and Community Property Will Be Key
In any divorce case in Texas, but especially in high net worth divorces, documenting all separate and community property will be critical if you want to ensure property is divided fairly between you and your spouse.
Under Texas law, all property owned by spouses will be classified either as community property or separate property, and all community property will be divided “in a manner that the court deems just and right.” Community property includes all assets and debts other than separate property that were acquired by either of the spouses during the marriage. There is a presumption of community property, which means a spouse will have the burden of proving a particular asset should be classified as separate property.
Recognizing that community property will be distributed between the parties, it is essential to document separate and community property as fully as possible. If you can do so prior to filing for divorce, be sure to obtain financial documents, receipts, appraisals, and any other materials that will prove when and how an asset was acquired.
You May Need to Hire a Forensic Accountant to Locate Hidden Assets
If you have concerns your spouse is trying to conceal community property so it will not be divided by your Dallas divorce court, you may need to hire a forensic accountant to locate any hidden assets. Forensic accountants are common in high net worth divorces, and they can locate property that has been misclassified, “gifted” to a family member or friend, reinvested, or otherwise hidden. Your Texas divorce attorney will be able to help you add a forensic accountant to your divorce team if necessary.
Your Divorce May Require Appraisers with Expert Knowledge
Many high net worth divorces involve complex community property, from intangible investments, to foreign real estate, to valuable art collections. Often, these types of assets can experience fluctuating market values, and it can be difficult to determine the appropriate valuation of a particular asset without assistance from an appraiser. Even if you recently had an asset appraised for insurance purposes, you should further ensure it is properly appraised for your divorce.
Your spouse could hire an appraiser who significantly undervalues or overvalues specific assets for the benefit of your spouse. Or, even in a best-case scenario, the court could rely on an insurance appraisal from last year in determining the value of a particular asset, and once it is distributed to you in the divorce, you could learn its market value has substantially dropped. By working with specialized appraisers in such circumstances, you can protect yourself and your interest in receiving a fair distribution of the community property.
Contact a Texas Divorce Lawyer
Do you need assistance with a high asset divorce in Texas? Our experienced Dallas divorce lawyers are here to assist you. Contact Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP to learn more about how we represent clients in and around Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.