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Youngblood Law, PLLC represents clients during collaborative divorces and litigation.

What Happens To My Investments In A Divorce?

A divorce is never an easy process. For high-net-worth couples, this difficulty is magnified significantly. As the number of assets a couple owns increases, so do the potential complications, intermingled finances, and opportunities for disagreements. Furthermore, the stakes are even higher, and both parties have much to lose in high-asset divorces. 

 

Without solid legal representation and supporting financial evidence, your investments and assets are at risk in a divorce. At Youngblood Law, PLLC., we have extensive experience supporting high-net-worth clients through their divorces and securing successful outcomes. We understand and know how to navigate the unique challenges of high-asset divorces, such as tax implications and detailed financial accounts. We work closely with reputable forensic accountants, tax professionals, and financial professionals to support your case and ensure you have clarity and confidence. 

 

The Fort Worth divorce lawyers at Youngblood Law PLLC help our high-net-worth clients approach Texas divorce law pragmatically and minimize the cost and potential waste that can arise when dividing assets. We also diligently locate evidence to ensure that your separate property remains yours and is not improperly divided in the divorce. 

 

We understand how concerning a divorce can be when you have a lot to lose, but our experienced team is here to guide you and protect your interests throughout. 

 

Contact Youngblood Law, PLLC today at 817-369-3970 to book an initial consultation and discuss how we can help you maintain and protect your hard-earned investments. 

Texas Community Property Laws

Texas is a community property state. As such, any assets deemed community or marital property are subject to a fair and equitable distribution between spouses during a divorce. What constitutes fair and equitable can be subjective, and many factors from the marriage and both spouses’ finances could influence this decision. Texas law does not define an exact split of a marital estate, and a unique approach is often required in high-asset divorces to avoid waste and minimize the cost of asset division. 

The implications of Texas’ community property laws on an investment portfolio can be substantial. For example, pre-tax and after-tax assets do not enjoy the same liquidity even if they are equal in value. Dividing the assets must be per Texas law, but should also be thoughtful to minimize waste. As such, seeking legal counsel as soon as possible is advisable. 

Which Of My Assets Could Be Divided In My Divorce?

To understand which of your assets are subject to division, property that is community and property that is the separate property of one spouse or the other must be identified. Nuances and exceptions can apply; the exact details will differ with every divorce. Generally, any asset acquired by either spouse within the duration of the marriage is considered community property. This principle can apply to purchasing a property or starting a business. 

 

Community property laws apply to many assets, such as real estate, cars, boats, businesses, retirement accounts, investment accounts, stocks, and even debts.

 

Separate property can be received or created during the marriage, usually by gift or inheritance. However, facts around gifts often differ at the time of the divorce and become the basis of disputes. Likewise, inheritance money is frequently used for the community during the marriage. Once separate property becomes comingled with community assets, it can be difficult for even skilled lawyers to “win” it back for the spouse who received it. If you have received any inheritance or gifts –even from the other spouse– during the marriage, let your family lawyer know the details.  

High Asset Divorce In Texas

Divorce for couples with a high net worth can become far more complicated. Spouses have more at stake in high-asset divorces. Additionally, with a larger estate comes more funding for legal fees. High-end divorce law firms are an expensive part of many high-net-worth divorces. The process of dividing a comprehensive portfolio of marital assets is complex and often problematic. High net-worth couples must also consider the tax implications of a divorce and the costs of dividing assets which can have substantial repercussions on a final divorce settlement. 

Businesses In A Texas Divorce

Divorce can be even more challenging for spouses who own or co-own a business. Company finances are often complex and intertwined with marital funds. Sophisticated business owners may have excellent records of the business and transactions. Still, they may also attempt to “cook the books” to show less value for the divorce. Unsophisticated owners may have little or no helpful documentation of the operation of the business, which creates significant accounting headaches when trying to assign value to the business. Deciphering these complicated links and identifying a solution for both parties is time- and resource-intensive.

 

Selling the business is most owners’ worst nightmare. Understanding the business’ accounts, finances, and debts is crucial to form the basis of negotiations with your ex. With the support of a skilled Fort Worth divorce lawyer, you and your spouse may reach an agreement that offsets the value of the business against other marital assets and allows one spouse to maintain their company ownership. 

What Happens To My Investments In A Divorce?

Assets obtained during the marriage are presumed to be community property. This includes retirement accounts such as 401(k) accounts. Many people mistakenly assume that the retirement assets accumulated by virtue of their employment are their retirement accounts. However, the reality is that retirement accounts, thrift savings plans, Health Savings Accounts, and more are community property and subject to divorce division.  

 

Factors such as the date your investment began, the growth of an investment during the marriage, and the use of profits may all influence whether your investment accounts are considered marital or separate property. 

 

If your investments are subject to division in a divorce, there are a range of potential outcomes. You may receive a court order that orders the distribution of a retirement plan, or you may be required to sell assets, pay taxes on these sales, and divide the remaining profits between you and your spouse. 

 

These situations are often less than ideal, and the added tax implications can considerably reduce the value of your investment portfolio. As such, skilled negotiation and reaching amicable agreements with your spouse and their legal team are essential. Through these negotiations, avoiding costly sales and identifying more beneficial solutions for both parties may be possible. In the best-case scenario, your attorney can prove that your investments are, in fact, considered separate property and are not subject to division between you and your ex.

 

Any individual with investment holdings will likely require the advice and support of a skilled high-asset divorce attorney and financial professional to navigate their divorce and protect their assets as much as possible. 

Taxable Investment Accounts

Dividing taxable investment accounts between divorcing spouses can be complicated and result in substantial tax liability. If assets in a taxable investment account must be sold to distribute between a couple, this will likely result in an income tax bill and could impact the overall value of an investment. 

 

There may be better options than selling financial assets for your situation. However, any alternative method will require negotiation and an agreement between you and your spouse. With the help of a Fort Worth divorce attorney and investment adviser, it may be possible to negotiate an alternative solution whereby one spouse maintains the taxable investment accounts and the other is compensated with other marital property. Similarly, your attorney can help you agree to transfer an even split of investment securities without selling. 

Retirement Accounts

Your retirement account is a critical asset that could be divided between you and your spouse in the divorce settlement. A retirement account may be evaluated for division if there is a significant disparity in the value of both spouses’ retirement assets. If one spouse’s retirement account is substantially larger than the other’s or does not have a retirement plan, the larger retirement account will likely be divided. 

 

The divorce court may issue a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) regarding employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401ks. This court order requires the equitable division of a retirement account between a divorcing couple. If you have an individual retirement arrangement (IRA), a QDRO won’t apply. Instead, the specific division of an IRA will be outlined in the final divorce agreement. 

Additional Complications 

Tax consequences may apply in certain situations, such as selling investment securities from a taxable investment account or transferring funds from a retirement account. Funds transferred through a QDRO are not subject to taxes or the 10% early withdrawal penalty tax. However, both taxes will apply if the receiving spouse uses these funds as non-retirement distribution. Pension account funds outside the remit of QDROs must be transferred from one IRA account to another IRA account to avoid tax consequences. 

 

Joint bank accounts can also present complications. Ideally, a joint account should be settled and closed immediately. If your name remains on any account or bill, this could lead to poor credit in the future. You can suffer as a named account holder due to the other account holder’s financial actions. This is particularly important in divorces, as tension and animosity between spouses are commonplace. As such, disgruntled exes can use a joint account and rack up debt as ammunition. The same principle applies to bills in both names, such as utility accounts or car payments.

Are My Investments Safe In A Divorce If I Have A Prenup?

A prenuptial agreement is a sensible approach for any high-net-worth couple. Although these agreements are beneficial and may protect some of your assets during your divorce, this is not always guaranteed. Prenups are complex, as is Texas divorce law, and you should not rely solely on your prenup to protect your investments. 

 

Factors such as changes to your economic situation or an agreement that was fair at the time of signing but is no longer contextually appropriate may mean that your prenup does not apply, and your spouse is entitled to a portion of your investments. Seek advice from a skilled high-asset divorce attorney to evaluate your prenup and understand the status of your assets. 

Protecting Your Assets And Investments In A Texas Divorce

High-net-worth couples can take steps to protect their investments in the event of a divorce. Keeping detailed accounts is essential to aid the division of property and the overall divorce process. With detailed financial records, the courts can identify separate property, and you have evidence to counter any false claims to your assets from your ex. 

 

The essential step to protect yourself and your investments in a divorce is to hire a skilled divorce attorney with a proven track record of securing successful divorce outcomes for high-net-worth clients. Experience matters with such divorces, as a high-asset divorce differs from a standard divorce in many ways. Your family lawyer must understand the complexities of your financial affairs and be able to identify and mitigate the potential pitfalls that can cost you your investments. 

 

When dividing marital property, it can be particularly challenging to discern if the growth of an investment is due to the natural accrual of value or if and how marital funds have influenced this. Understanding this can be vital in arguing that an investment is separate property and should be excluded from the divorce settlement. 

 

At Youngblood Law, PLLC., we work with skilled financial advisors and forensic accountants to understand the complete picture of your investments and their value in relation to your marriage. We will ensure that your investments are valued fairly and gain the best possible insight into your accounts and financial audit trails to support the case to protect your investments. 

 

Collaborative Divorce

For spouses that can work together, a collaborative divorce is an option that gives you and your spouse control and allows for a more flexible divorce agreement. The Texas collaborative divorce process is especially useful for high-net-worth people. However, for a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse must be on the same page regarding your divorce. 

 

A collaborative divorce reduces the need for costly court involvement, saving you time and money and preventing essential decisions from being made by the Judge. Because the collaborative divorce process is performed outside of the court’s purview, the divorce details are more private than the typical divorce. Please ask us if the collaborative divorce process is a good option for you.

 

The Collaborative Divorce Process

Suppose you have decided on the collaborative law process. In that case, you and your ex-spouse will each need to enlist the expertise of a collaborative divorce lawyer. You will then create a signed Participation Agreement. Then, you can engage in joint meetings managed by your legal representation. Full disclosure of assets is required, and you may enlist the help of Child Specialists or financial planners.

 

While it is common for individuals to doubt their ability to reach an amicable agreement with an ex-spouse, our team is exceptionally skilled in negotiation tactics and conflict resolution. You will be astounded by the surprising outcomes achievable with our guidance. Because the court isn’t directly involved in the collaborative process, there is no limit to the opportunities to negotiate thoughtful solutions that serve your and your family’s needs. 

 

Once an amicable agreement is reached on all critical issues, your divorce attorney will draft the paperwork for both parties to sign. The divorce process can advance without resorting to litigation.

 

Speak To Youngblood Law, PLLC. Before Dividing Your Assets

Negotiating and finding mutually beneficial solutions is crucial in a high-asset divorce. In the worst-case scenario, the court could order a couple to sell their investments to distribute equitably. The tax implications of which can be huge. However, with the assistance of a reputable Fort Worth divorce lawyer with experience handling complex high-asset divorces, such scenarios can often be avoided. 

 

The Fort Worth divorce attorneys at Youngblood Law, PLLC. are well versed in the unique challenges facing high-net-worth individuals navigating divorce in Texas. We draw upon expert financial advice and develop an individualized approach for every client. 

 

Our attorneys’ attention to detail and diligence are crucial qualities for attorneys in high-asset divorces. Our firm culture encourages our legal team to consult with each other to develop the well-rounded and thorough strategies necessary for complex estates. Furthermore, our team has extensive experience negotiating with spouses in a firm but professional and respectful manner. Our ability to maintain an amicable relationship while securing a successful outcome for our clients has proved invaluable for avoiding costly and lengthy divorce battles and asset sales. 

 

We know the stakes are high, but if Youngblood Law, PLLC represents you, you can rest assured that we have the reputation, skill, and experience to secure the best possible outcome for you and your investments. 

 

Contact the Youngblood Law, PLLC, legal team today by calling 817-369-3970 to book an initial consultation with a reputable high-asset divorce lawyer in Texas. 

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