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Divorce can be a complex legal ordeal for any married couple wishing to separate. But when the spouses involved have a high net worth as individuals or as a couple, the process can be even more complicated without the help of an experienced divorce lawyer.

Anyone with assets totaling at least $1 million is considered to have a high net worth. If both spouses earn high incomes and own many joint ventures, splitting the assets in an equal and agreeable manner can be a challenge. If one or both spouses are in the public eye, privacy and discretion are important. The legal representation you choose can make all the difference in the outcome of the divorce proceedings.

Terry & Roberts have the experience necessary to handle high asset divorces. We can make the process as simple as possible to resolve financial matters in the shortest amount of time so that you can get the closure you need to move forward. Here’s how.

A Team of Focused and Experienced Lawyers and Case-Related Experts

High net worth divorce cases require a team of experienced lawyers who know what case-related experts to hire to handle every aspect of the financial assets involved in the marriage. The team may include:

  • Real estate experts. In order to determine the value and ownership of property, a real estate expert will be used to appraise any commercial and/or residential property owned jointly or by either individual.
  • Tracing experts. It is necessary to determine what assets are considered to be separately owned and which can be categorized as community property. This analysis can be conducted by tracing experts who research purchase history before and during the marriage.
  • Financial experts. One or more financial experts may be needed to determine the worth of a business or the tax consequences involved in business transactions.
  • Discovery experts. Sometimes assets are claimed in discovery documents for which the other party refuses to or is unable to provide documentation or evidence. In this case, a discovery expert will investigate the situation.
  • Specialized experts. If there are assets involved that are difficult to assign value to, such as artwork, livestock, or antiques, special experts in the necessary fields may be consulted.
  • Mental health experts. In cases where one or both spouses’ mental health is in question, such as in custody battles or situations of domestic violence, a mental health expert may be consulted, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.
  • Child and family experts. For custody decisions, a child or family specialist may be consulted to make a recommendation on what is best for the child(ren) involved in a divorce.

Prenuptial Agreements

In many high asset marriages, there is a prenuptial or premarital agreement in place. If so, the terms of the prenup must be adhered to as part of any divorce proceedings. A prenuptial agreement is a document created before a couple gets married that outlines how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. Sometimes there are specific stipulations set forth in a prenup that if violated, can cause one spouse or the other to forfeit their right to certain assets.

Prenuptial agreements can simplify and shorten high net worth divorce proceedings. Most lawyers recommend establishing a prenup before getting married, whether the marriage is considered to be high asset or not. It also helps each spouse to protect their own assets in case of a divorce. Even if a prenup was not contemplated, spouses can undertake a postnuptial agreement after the marriage that would have the same effect in the event of a divorce.

Call (979) 849-4387 or contact us today to schedule a consultation. We will advocate diligently for your rights to help you hold onto your assets and get a fair allocation in your divorce.

Frequently Asked Questions About High Net Worth Divorce

How will we split a jointly owned business?

A financial expert can evaluate the business to determine its overall value and each spouse’s contribution. This information is used in divorce proceedings to determine what will happen with the business going forward. In some cases, the business is simply awarded to the spouse with the greatest investment in it. In other cases, one spouse buys out the other’s ownership. And in some cases, both spouses will continue to operate the business together.

Can I change the beneficiaries of my retirement funds, life insurance plan, etc.?

Yes. After a divorce you can update the beneficiaries on various financial documents, including your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets to remove your ex-spouse. It is important to make sure this is taken care of as soon as possible after the divorce, otherwise your ex may still be entitled to these benefits. Beneficiaries are not automatically updated when a divorce is finalized.

Are custody agreements any different in a high asset divorce?

Whether or not a divorce is a high asset won’t make much difference in terms of child custody. It is almost always in the best interest of the child(ren) for the parents to come to an agreement on custody, except in cases of domestic violence. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement, the court will hear evidence and make a formal decision on custody. High net worth will enter into the equation during the assessment of child support.

How can I keep my financial information confidential in a high net worth divorce?

It is important to hire a lawyer who can ensure confidentiality and discretion, especially if you or your spouse are in the public eye. Just being a prominent business owner in the community can mean you wish to keep your divorce proceedings private in order to avoid a negative impact on your business. Financial statements and other documentation can be protected by the court and kept under seal and thus made unavailable as part of the public case file.

Why should I call Terry & Roberts to handle my high asset divorce?

If you’re looking for an experienced divorce lawyer in Brazoria County who can handle the complexities and delicacies of a high asset divorce, contact Terry & Roberts. We have handled numerous high net worth divorce cases, including those with complicated business ventures and prenuptial agreements involved. We can help keep your case private and out of the public eye as you and your spouse work through this difficult experience.

 

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