Texas law does not have a precise definition of what is considered a high net worth individual, but the most common figure quoted is $1 million in total assets. This may seem like a lot of money, but in actuality, most people who have worked a considerable length of time fall into this category.
A high net worth divorce typically includes division of high-value retirement plans, stock options, trust accounts and real estate property. The divorce process is complicated, but it becomes more complicated when it involves the division of high-value assets.
There is too much room for error to deal with a high net worth divorce on your own. Even the most esteemed lawyers go through the process with the guidance of a divorce attorney. The family law department at The Gonzalez Law Group has proven experience representing individuals during a high net worth divorce. They will make sure you receive what you are entitled to.
Do not take the chance of representing yourself in court. The risk of doing so outweighs the cost of hiring an attorney. The Gonzalez Law Group has over 70 years of collective experiences serving clients in communities across Harris County including Houston, Webster, Channel View, Pasadena, Pearland, and many others.
To schedule a free consultation with the family law department at The Gonzalez Law Group call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form.
- Division of High-Value Assets
- Texas Property Division Laws
- Fraud on the Community
- Additional Resources
Division of High-Value Assets
One of the most complicated aspects of a high wealth divorce is the division of property. If you and your spouse have a prenup, then the property division will be determined based on what’s stated in the agreement. If you and your spouse do not have a prenuptial agreement, the court will be left to decide how property is divided.
Texas takes a different approach than most of the country when it comes to diving property in a divorce. Instead of dividing the property into marital and separate property, the state uses a common law form of property ownership. Instead, they divide the property into community and separate property. This means all property acquired during a marriage is considered community property and each spouse is entitled to it just as much as the other.
Dividing high-valued community property is what causes the most friction in a high wealth divorce. It’s common for one spouse to feel like they deserve more than the other, especially if they worked hard to acquire the property. Community property that is commonly divided in a high net worth divorce includes:
- Business interest
- Real estate
- Life insurance policies
- Mutual funds, stock, and other financial accounts
- Retirement benefits
Texas Property Division Laws
When a couple is going through a divorce in Texas, the law requires their property to be divided in a manner that is deemed just and right, but nowhere does it say equal. Like mentioned earlier, the two main types of property in a marriage are community and separate property.
Section 3.001 of the Texas Family Code considered separate property as the following:
- Property owned or claimed by a spouse before a marriage
- Property acquired during the marriage as a gift
- Property inherited by one spouse
- Recovery for personal injury experienced by a spouse, except any recovery for loss of earning potential.
Property that is not claimed as separate will be presumed as community property. When the court is deciding how to divide community property, they will take many factors into account. Some of these factors include:
- A spouse’s ability to support themselves
- Which spouse has custody of the children
- The length of the marriage
- Nature of the property
- The financial cost incurred by a spouse during the divorce proceedings
- Spouse’s wrongdoing such as fraud on the community
Fraud on the Community
It’s common for a spouse to hide assets during a divorce. This usually happens because one party feels they are more entitled to the asset than the other, or they may feel they are getting an unfair share of the property settlement. Concealing assets is not just immoral, but illegal in Texas.
The state of Texas considers hiding assets as fraud on the community. When a judge believes you have committed the crime, they will calculate the value depleted from the community property as a result of the fraud and then calculate the value of the reconstituted estate. A reconstituted estate is the total value of the community estate that would have existed if the fraud had not taken place.
Once the reconstituted estate has been calculated, a judge will then divide in a manner that is deemed just and right by the court. This means a judge can award the wronged spouse a handsome share of the community property.
Additional Resources for High Net Worth
General Rule for Separate and Community Property | Texas Family Code– Follow this link to read the section of the family code that governs separate and community property in Texas. You can learn more about interest in employee benefits, insurance proceeds and spousal liability. The code can be read on the Texas Constitution and Statutes website.
Award of Marital Property | Texas Family Code– Follow this link to learn more about property division. You can find out how retirement and employment benefits are divided and read the precise legal definition of fraud on the community.
Contact a Houston High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer
If you are going through a high net worth divorce, contact The Gonzalez Law Group. Our family law department will take the time to listen to your story and formulate and divorce decree that is fair. We understand how important it is that you receive the property you are entitled to, that is why we want to help. To schedule a free consultation, call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form. The Gonzalez Law Group has clients with divorce proceedings in Harris County.