Going through a divorce is hard enough. But it can become much more complicated if there is a lot at stake. If you’re getting a high net worth divorce in Texas, there are critical steps you need to take to protect your assets and ensure you’re going to have financial security when you’re single once again.
A High Net Worth Divorce In Texas
What Assets Factor Into A Divorce?
It’s crucial that you find out about the assets that could be up for grabs in your divorce. They include:
- Real estate, like your family home and any other properties you own
- Your business or professional practice
- Cash assets
- Stock options
- Valuables like artwork, jewelry, and heirlooms
- Pensions and other retirement benefits
- Boats, vehicles, and other property with high value
Texas is a community property state. Any property/assets that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage will be split equitably. This means that your liabilities (debts) will also be divided up. The court is going to determine what is equitable by examining the circumstances surrounding your divorce. It will take into consideration things like who was at fault for the breakup, which spouse gets custody, the disparity of the earning power between you and your spouse, the future employability of each spouse, and each spouse’s health.
Keep in mind that if you had separate property, then you will likely get to keep it. If you have a premarital agreement, also known as a prenup, or a postnup in place, then as long as it’s valid, it will also be factored into your divorce proceedings. The prenup or postnup needs to be in writing and willingly signed by both parties. When it was created, there should not have been any coercion to get the other spouse to sign it. Also, each party was required to be upfront about their assets. If they were not, then the prenup or postnup may be invalid.
Preparing Yourself For A High Net Worth Divorce
While divorce proceedings, in general, can take a long time, when you’re dealing with a high net worth divorce, expect it to take even longer. It’s critical that you remain patient during this time, even if it seems to be dragging on and on. The more assets there are, the more complicated things become. It’s never worth it to throw in the towel early, or else you could end up losing your valuable assets and future financial security.
You will also need to invest more to find a skilled high net worth divorce lawyer. It will be worth it if you find someone who is experienced with these kinds of divorces. This is not the time to be frugal, because the decisions that you make now are going to affect you for the rest of your life. For instance, if you lose more of your retirement money than you anticipated, then you’ll have to work longer to make up for it. That’s not how you imagined spending your golden years.
When you’re thinking about getting a divorce, you should start listing your assets and assessing your financial health. Make sure you have access to all your accounts and you know where you stand. Figure out your net worth by subtracting your liabilities (your debts) from your assets.
Even though you may be scared about what’s going to happen – and frustrated about the community property law – you should never hide your assets. Don’t transfer your assets to a third party right before you decide to get divorced to make it look like you have less than you really do. The court officials will not look upon you favorably if they find out what you did. You could end up losing much more because you will seem dishonest. Instead, be upfront about everything, even if it’s painful. The consequences that could arise from hiding your assets could be much worse.
Planning For The Future
No matter what happens, you should start planning for the future as soon as possible. This could mean creating a budget and cutting back on your spending. Now that you’re going to be single, you can’t spend as you used to when you and your spouse were both bringing in an income. You never know what could happen; you may lose your job or your investments could lose their value. Try to take as little risk as possible, especially at this time.
If you aren’t working currently, then you may want to consider searching for a job and/or going back to school to enroll in classes so you can get a good job. Don’t count on child support and alimony payments to sustain you, either. Even if you receive them, they may not be enough. Having backup plans like at least a part-time job is critical.
You should also consider what assets you really want. For instance, even if the family home is sentimental, if you can’t afford the mortgage payments, then it’s not worth it. You may be attached to the family boat, but upkeep on a boat costs a lot of money. The family car – a minivan – is great, but if it doesn’t get good gas mileage, then it could be time to ditch it for a more economical alternative.
If you don’t already have a retirement plan in place or you haven’t purchased life insurance, consider opening a retirement account and purchasing a life insurance policy so you and your family are protected.
Finding A High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer
When you’re searching for a divorce lawyer, look for one who has worked with high net worth clients. Ask the divorce lawyer if they have examples of past cases they worked on as well as the results of those cases. See if their website has positive reviews from other clients. It’s also important to ask about their fees. However, don’t just go with the cheapest option, because it could cost you much more in the end. Look for a high net worth divorce lawyer who has the skills and expertise to get you what you deserve out of your divorce.