A wealth divorce is one in which the couple’s property has a high monetary value. While high net worth divorces follow the same legal principles and procedures as low net worth divorces, the process is much more complicated and requires a more sophisticated approach.
Two issues that must be addressed in all divorce cases – but especially in the context of a wealthy divorce – are the division of assets and spousal support.
Division of property
In the event of a divorce, the divorced couple’s entire property must be divided. The first step is to determine whether each asset is jointly owned or owned separately. The common good is the property acquired during the marriage. Property acquired before marriage or by inheritance is the separate property of the spouse to whom it belonged before marriage. All property of a divorcing couple is considered joint property unless proven to be separate property. Each party is entitled to their own property after the divorce.
The second step is to divide the community property into “just and just” based on a number of factors including culpability in the separation of the marriage (abuse, criminal activity, adultery, etc.), custody of underage children and the respective rights of each spouse.
A wealthy divorce requires the use of financial professionals. Every asset in a marital estate must be assigned a value. In a divorce with no assets, the parties prepare bank statements and divide their accounts accordingly. This process is much more complex when the marital status has high monetary value or represents a pooling of assets alongside cash.
A wealthy attorney can advise you on the legal consequences of dividing your property and classifying each property as joint or separate. Additionally, divorce lawyers who are experienced in wealthy divorces know and have working relationships with relevant experts. A business valuation professional is needed to analyze the value of a company and the business interests of the parties. Valuable art, antiques, collectibles, personal property, and real estate must be valued. Tax experts and financial planners advise you on the value of pensions, retirement accounts and insurance. It is often beneficial to employ a forensic accountant who can track down funds, especially if funds have been moved, hidden, or mixed up.
Your lawyer and the team of financial experts will draw up a comprehensive inventory of your special assets, the special assets of your spouse and the common property in order to make a fair distribution.
In high-fortune divorces, one spouse is sometimes financially dependent on the other. If this is the case, the dependent spouse can apply for spousal support after the marriage is over to cover his or her needs. Commonly referred to as “alimony,” Texas court-ordered assistance is legally referred to as “spousal alimony.” The amount and period of spousal maintenance can be determined in two ways – either by agreement or by court order.
Spousal support is not an automatic right in Texas. If a spouse wishes to claim spousal support, the spouse must prove that he or she is entitled. Eligibility requirements include 10 or more years of marriage, domestic violence, disability of the spouse or the spouse caring for a disabled child of the marriage.
If the dependent spouse is eligible, the court will order an amount that is either $ 5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse’s gross monthly income, whichever is lower. However, parties to divorce can agree on spousal maintenance and thereby secure a contractual obligation to pay an amount that exceeds the statutory maximum limit that a judge can order. If you’re looking for spousal support above $ 5,000 per month, speak to your attorney about a contractual maintenance settlement.
Talk to Hammerle Finley
If you are considering divorce and are concerned about the apportionment of your wealth, speak to the Hammerle Finley law firm, which includes experts in divorce, custody, real estate, business and estate planning. You have worked hard for your fortune; find the lawyer who will fight to protect you.