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Houston Divorce Law Blog

Billionaire's children now have lawyer in divorce case

Last week, it was noted that the presence of an experienced attorney can help keep a high asset divorce on-track. Interestingly, it seems that the two members of a marriage are not the only ones who may benefit from having a lawyer in the event of a divorce.

The Houston area is known for its forward-thinking economy and lucrative energy sector; as a result, it's not surprising that when a high asset divorce occurs, it often highlights multiple legal issues. In the realm of property division alone there are countless considerations: who will retain what role in the business, the effects of the split on each party's career, what becomes of gifts and inheritances and so on. The financial ramifications of the end of a marriage can impact not only each party but also the entire family. Child custody can feature emotional as well as financial elements, and even if each party agrees to joint custody there can be unresolved issues on both sides.

Skilled counsel keeps a high asset divorce under control

There is much at stake in any divorce, but a high asset divorce is a financially-complex situation that can easily veer out-of-control. Residents of Houston have likely seen the countless headlines spawned by the types of splits that affect celebrities, businesspersons and the like: disputed, heated and sometimes dragging-on forever. In a high asset divorce, it's especially important to secure trusted counsel from the get-go so that matters stay focused on a fair conclusion.

One of the first ways in which representation in a high asset divorce is invaluable is through comprehensive treatment of each party's finances. Couples who earned a high income or owned lucrative assets can inadvertently overlook the many details that can affect property division. Without an attorney by one's side from the beginning, a spouse can easily forget crucial elements that will only need to be dealt with later.

Bringing up the benefits of prenuptials to a future spouse

The process of bringing up the idea of a prenuptial agreement is never an easy one, even if both engaged partners share the same views on how to proceed with the matter. In Texas, a prenuptial agreement can cover many different topics. Thus, it may be difficult to determine if such an agreement is right for a couple and, if so, what it needs to include.

One of the primary purposes of a prenuptial agreement is to protect each spouse's property interests in the event of divorce. Since the prospect of divorce is rarely, if ever, on the minds of engaged couples, it can be especially tough to mention the benefits of a prenuptial agreement to a future spouse. Still, the perks are substantial. A prenuptial agreement can prevent the possibility of drawn-out divorce battles down the road regarding property division. A couple can accumulate significant property during a marriage. Without a prenuptial agreement, precious assets can be fought-over in court - a process that can be costly as well as time-consuming.

How spouses find 'fault' with their ex in Texas

When two people get divorced in Texas, both spouses generally have their own idea regarding whose fault the breakup was. In some cases, though, spouses can agree on where the fault lies in a divorce, whether it is with one spouse, both spouses or no one at all. Other times, fault in a divorce is contested, with each party claiming the other was at fault. What many don't realize is that fault may be related later on to property division and each spouse's propensity for protecting assets.

The divorce process often begins by one spouse officially filing for divorce. In general, at least one ground for divorce must be named; this is often "insupportability of the marriage." A marriage is generally no longer supportable when there is excessive discord between partners, unsustainable incompatibility and no realistic hope that reconciliation will take place. This ground can also be claimed if spouses have been living separately for three or more years.

How does 'equal' differ from 'equitable' in a Texas divorce?

Dividing property in Texas is usually not among the simpler things spouses must do during divorce. Texas functions under the community property system of dividing property, which is a system misunderstood by many. In the process of dividing marital property from separate property, and then dividing the marital property itself, Texas strives for an equitable division of assets. However, Texas is not an "equitable distribution" state, the way most of the states in the country are; Texas is a community property state. As a result, there can be much confusion over how assets are divided in the state.

Some may believe that, like the state of California for instance, Texas aims for an equal split of marital property. In other words, each spouse may receive half of the house, half of joint back accounts and so on. While this is a simplified scenario even for states that use such a system, in Texas matters can be much more complex. In a state like Texas, it's possible to have a technically uneven distribution of assets that is still found to be equitable.

Former NFL star's Dallas home at center of high asset divorce

The divorce legal issues of high-earning individuals are notoriously complex; for those who hold multiple properties they can be especially tough to navigate. Former NFL star and pro athlete Deion Sanders is still weaving his way through a high asset divorce with his ex-wife. At the conclusion of a high asset divorce settlement, as Sanders has discovered, there are severe consequences that come with not properly following a judge's orders.

As part of his divorce, Sanders had been ordered by a judge to pay the legal fees of his ex. The fees were quite steep, totaling more than $275,000. Sanders did not comply with the order and as a consequence, a judge put a lien on Sanders' Texas home, a $21 million property located in Dallas. Sanders is also reportedly coping with the closing of a charter school he had co-founded.

How does collaborative law differ from mediation?

The end of a marriage is often a difficult time that includes many decisions. The decision-making process could entail making choices regarding what route for dissolution they should take. Time and money are often factors that control their choice, especially if both divorcing spouse are seeking a timely amicable divorce.

Divorcing spouses in the Houston area may have heard of two alternatives to traditional divorce court proceedings known as collaborative law and mediation. Since the two options share many similarities, some have assumed they are one and the same. After all, both feature family law negotiation aimed at benefitting the entire family unit, rather than just one spouses versus the other. In addition, both can save spouses time and money by avoiding court unless necessary.

Protecting assets may require online efforts

Few would argue that the modern era isn't heavily saturated with the influence of technology. From computers to smartphones to everything in between, Texans store an incredible amount of personal information in these ubiquitous devices. What some individuals may not realize is the importance of properly attending to these technologies during divorce.

While protecting assets has never been easy, accomplishing that task nowadays can take a bit more effort. Recently, a study from McAfee revealed that important personal information may be easily accessible to spouses during and even after divorce. For example, the study showed that over 95 of those surveyed trusted their spouses with information such as account passwords and sensitive photographs. However, a much smaller percentage, about 32 percent, indicated that they asked their former partners to delete that information when the relationship ended.

Who can receive alimony after a high asset divorce in Texas?

Couples going through a high asset divorce in the state of Texas may be interested in learning more about their post-divorce financial obligations towards one another. When a marriage ends, it's rarely the case that former couples can simply cut ties completely and go their separate ways. Whether or not children are involved, but especially if they are, there may be important financial matters that require former spouses to cooperate not only with one another but also with the current laws in their state.

In Texas, there are two different types of alimony. The first is spousal maintenance specifically ordered by the court. The second is contractual alimony which proceeds from the forming of an agreement between two spouses. Either type may be encountered amidst a high asset divorce, in which one or both former spouses may possess complex assets or substantial income.

Tackling the "liability" of marital property after divorce

Whether a divorcing couple brings in a substantial income or whether they are just getting by, one of the biggest sources of distress can be the family home. Even the most modest of homes can hold the majority of a couple's assets; thus property division can be one of the most stressful aspects of ending a marriage in Texas.

One of the more complicated elements in property division is how to deal with an existing home during the divorce. Often one spouse will want to move out, or one or both spouses will want to relinquish their interest in the property in order to move on. It's helpful to know that while a divorce decree can give the home to one spouse or the other in some cases, there are likely extra steps that need to be taken in order to remove the home as a liability under their name.

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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