Evidence in High Net Worth Divorce Cases
In many divorce cases, a couple who only owns a modest amount of assets can divide their marital property in an amicable manner. However, when high net worth individuals seek a divorce, their property division can be contentious as either spouse may dispute their right to an asset. Thus, the outcome may turn on how each side presents its evidence in high net worth divorce cases, particularly regarding questions concerning the value and interest of any property. If you are contemplating ending your marriage and you anticipate a contentious division of marital assets, it is advisable to seek legal counsel. At McClure Law Group, our dedicated Dallas divorce lawyers possess the skills and resources to help people protect their assets throughout the process of ending their marriage, and we will aggressively advocate on your behalf.Characterization of Property in Texas Divorces
In divorce cases, Texas characterizes property as either community or separate. Generally, any property either party acquires during the marriage is presumed to be community property. However, gifts, inherited property, and damages awarded for personal injuries in a civil lawsuit, unless they were meant to compensate for lost wages, may be separate property. Additionally, property specifically defined as separate property will be excluded from community property, even if it was acquired during the marriage. Any property that either spouse owned prior to the marriage or that falls under one of the exceptions to community property is also considered separate property. Community property is owned equally by both parties and is subject to equitable distribution, which means the court may divide it as it deems fair.Evidence in High Net Worth Divorce Cases
When high net worth couples divorce, disputes often arise over whether the property is community or separate, and over the value of such property. With regards to the nature of a property, a party that disputes the presumption that an asset is community property must produce evidence that is both convincing and clear for the court to find that the property in question is separate. This means that the evidence in high net worth divorce cases must demonstrate that it is highly likely or almost certain that the property is owned by one spouse. In some cases, this evidence may include a prenuptial agreement. In Texas, prenuptial agreements are enforceable if they are written and voluntarily signed by both parties, following a full and fair disclosure of liabilities and assets, unless the parties waive such a disclosure. Thus, if either spouse produces evidence that the other spouse did not fairly disclosure his or her finances prior to the signing, a court may find the agreement to be unconscionable and refuse to enforce it if the parties did not waive such disclosure. A seasoned divorce lawyer can help you navigate any arguments that arise in your case regarding the validity of such an agreement.
Issues can also arise when a couple commingles community and separate property. For example, if either spouse uses income from separate property to buy or maintain community property, or contributes to a separate interest-earning account or 401(k) with income that is community property, whether the property is considered separate or community or a combination may be disputed. As such, both parties may be required to obtain financial experts to trace the nature of the property and offer testimony regarding the value of the property. Similarly, in some high net worth cases, a party may attempt to lessen the value of separate property or assets in order to minimize alimony obligations or to persuade the court to award the party a higher percentage of community property. Thus, parties in a high net worth divorce will often have to produce appraisals or reports from forensic accountants to document the value of property.Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Dallas
High net worth individuals often have significant assets to protect when their marriage ends. If you wish to seek a divorce, discuss the potential financial ramifications of ending your marriage with legal counsel. The divorce attorneys of the McClure Law Group are dedicated to helping people navigate through the stress of a high stakes divorce, and we will fight diligently to help protect your rights. Our office is located in Dallas, and we can meet by appointment at our Collin County office in Plano. We regularly assist people in divorce lawsuits in Dallas, Richardson, Garland, Irving, Fort Worth, Rockwall, McKinney, and Frisco. We also represent people in family law cases in cities throughout Dallas, Denton, Grayson, Rockwall, Collin, and Tarrant Counties. You can contact us through our online form or at 214.692.8200 to schedule a conference.