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Specialty tag(s): High Net Worth Divorce, Divorce

Understanding the Nuances of the High-Net-Worth Divorce Process

Clayton Bryant | May 2, 2023

Woman in white powersuit looking at laptop

Divorce is almost always complicated, even in amicable cases. This fact is even more true for high-net-worth couples. Whether you and your spouse gained significant assets throughout your marriage or had a high net worth before the union, dividing and preserving your assets in these cases can be intricate and complex. It’s important to understand the nuances that apply to the high-net-worth divorce process to achieve the best possible outcome. 

What Is Considered a High-Net-Worth Divorce?

Although there is no standard legal definition, high-net-worth divorce guidelines generally apply to separations in which couples possess more than $1 million in assets. Assets divided during the high-net-worth divorce process can include:

  • Real estate
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Pensions
  • Business investments
  • Retirement accounts
  • Shared businesses

What You Need to Know About the High-Net-Worth Divorce Process

Due to the nature and amount of assets divided in a high-net-worth divorce, these cases tend to involve a higher level of complexity and conflict. The best way to secure your desired outcome in these situations is to work with a skilled attorney who understands the intricacies of this type of divorce. Your divorce attorney can guide you through a complicated process with sound and strategic legal advice drawn from years of experience.

If you are facing a high-net-worth divorce, there are several things you should know to expect.

High-Net-Worth Divorces May Take Longer

Each divorce is unique, so there’s no way to say for certain how long each case will take to resolve. Generally, a divorce takes approximately six months to two years to complete. However, high-net-worth divorce cases may take longer due to the number of assets that need to be discovered and divided.

Spouses May Attempt to Hide Assets

The division of assets is usually the most contested matter in high-net-worth divorce cases. As a result, some parties may attempt to hide some of their assets. However, this is not an advisable course of action. Should any of those hidden assets be discovered, the court will likely look negatively upon the party who attempted to hide them for the rest of the case.

Child Support Is Determined Differently in High-Net-Worth Divorces

Child support guidelines in Texas determine how much one owes in child support based on income and several other factors. However, the standard child support guidelines only consider income up to a certain amount. If you exceed that income level, separate high-net-worth divorce guidelines for child support come into effect, and you may need to pay more in child support than is usually required. For this to happen, the parent with primary custody must prove that a higher amount is necessary to meet the child’s needs.

Prenuptial Agreements Are Not Always Upheld

Many believe that a prenuptial agreement will automatically resolve asset division issues in a high-net-worth divorce. This, however, is not always the case. Several factors can cause a prenuptial agreement to not be upheld. Clauses may not apply to your situation, or a judge may suspect fraud or duress.

All Sources of Income Will Be Considered for Alimony

It is common for parties involved in the high-net-worth divorce process to have multiple sources of income. In certain situations, their partners may not even know about all of them. These circumstances can make determining a fair alimony payment complicated.

Businesses Are Usually Considered Community Property

In cases where spouses worked together to establish and grow a business, which one receives ownership in a divorce? In Texas, these businesses are community property, meaning they are owned equally by both parties. To determine how to divide a business, a valuation will need to be conducted, and the court will then consider the interests of all parties involved before making a decision.

Community Property Is Divided in a “Just and Right” Way

Any property you and your spouse owned together during the marriage will be considered community property. However, even though the property is viewed as equally owned, this does not mean that it will always be divided equally. The court will attempt to divide all community property in a “just and right” manner. It is up to the discretion of the judge what is considered a fair division of the assets. With the assistance of your high-net-worth divorce lawyer, you will need to provide arguments as to how you believe the community property should be divided and why.

The Court May Decide Not to Divide Certain Assets

High-net-worth divorce guidelines do not stipulate that all assets must be sold and divided evenly. If you or your spouse obtained valuable items such as artwork or jewelry during the marriage, a judge can decide who keeps those specific assets.

Preserve Your Assets With a Skilled High-Net-Worth Divorce Attorney

If you are facing a high-net-worth divorce in Texas, the experienced lawyers at Goranson Bain Ausley can help. Our high-net-worth divorce lawyers have the skills necessary to get you the outcome you deserve. Contact our divorce attorneys in AustinDallasFort WorthGranbury, or Plano today to schedule a consultation and discuss the specifics of your case.

Learn More

With over 15 years of experience, Clayton Bryant manages the full range of family law cases, including property division, child custody, and trusts and estates. A seasoned litigator, Clayton is experienced with jury trials and is a certified mediator. His clients include professionals and their spouses, parents who want to put the interests of their children first, and mid-life clients looking for the best path forward as they begin new chapters in life. 

For more information about high-net worth divorce, contact Clayton Bryant in our Fort Worth or Granbury office at 877-219-8299.

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