Houston High Asset Divorce Attorney
Closely Held Businesses, Investments, and Divorce
The division of marital assets can be complicated by a number of factors when a closely held business, substantial investments, and multiple real estate properties are involved. In order to determine the net worth of both spouses it may be necessary to trace co-mingled assets (community and separate property are mixed to the extent that they cannot be separated…for example you have a separate money account in the amount of $100,000 at the time of marriage. You withdraw money out of that account from time to time and all the while, that account has earned interest, and then interest on interest, which is community. To maintain the account's separate character, you must be able to separate the separate from the community monies by clear and convincing evidence…sometimes impossible to do. Same thing with brokerage account), determine the value of a business, and appraise a party's equity in closely-held real estate properties and businesses. Additionally, certain kinds of property may or may not be subject to division, depending on how and/or when it was acquired or used in relation to community property. In the end, the division of marital property in high asset divorce cases can affect maintenance, retirement funds, credit scores, taxes, and your standard of living after divorce.
In order to protect my clients' financial and legal interests, I work closely with CPAs, forensic accountants, and business valuators in addressing the often complex issues that arise in high asset divorce cases. To schedule a confidential consultation and discuss your case, contact Houston divorce attorney Leonard M. Roth today.
Dividing Marital Property
My office works closely with clients and financial experts as needed in negotiations and disputes involving the division of the following kinds of marital property:
- Executive pension plans
- The worth of a closely held business
- Stock portfolios
- Equity in real estate property
- Inheritance used to increase the value of marital property
- Intellectual property rights
Collaboration, Collaborative Law, and the Division of Marital Assets
As a board certified family law attorney by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, qualified Mediator, Family Mediator and Qualified Collaborative Law Attorney, I have extensive experience in guiding clients through the collaborative law process. Even in high asset divorce cases where the parties involved may have little patience for each other, it's often in the best interest of both to enter into the Collaborative Law process to settle the terms of their divorce. Collaborative Law divorce allows you to focus on your goals and interests without the interference of Court and statutory timelines so that you can truly control your future by placing you in charge of the final terms of your divorce settlement.
You can arrive at a division of marital property that allows you to not be bound by the laws of the State of Texas in dividing your property and debts. Collaborative Law is part of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Also under the umbrella of ADR is Mediation. Similar settlements can be achieved in Mediation, but Mediation is a forced, pressure-filled process to get to a settlement, no matter what. Fairness is not really part of the mindset of the Mediator, who is not a judge in the process. To have something like a judge, you have to go to another ADR facet, Arbitration.
I am also a long-term Mediator and Family Mediator. Some mediations, not mine, start early in the morning and go into the wee hours of the next morning, when settlements are more to flee from the process, than come to a fair resolution . . . survival of the fittest. Many times, participants settle without really knowing what they have agreed to in the settlement.
At the end of Mediation, there is an MSA (Mediated Settlement Agreement). Once signed and filed with the court, it is an ORDER OF THE COURT and virtually unchangeable, except as to those areas of the MSA that are incomplete. Parties are really stuck, if there is no agreement to change the terms of the MSA in the final document. Yes, the MSA is not the end of the process. There still has to be a final order that must comply with the MSA. Mistakes, serious and inconsequential are made in Mediation. Mediation is a part of litigation. Mediation outside of litigation has no real meaning, unless the parties to mediation do not change their mind later when the law suit is filed.
Collaborative Law is as slow as the slowest participant. There is no rush to settlement. Collaborative Law is safe, confidential, not pressure-filled and you are treated with dignity. The parties forge their settlement, so there are no misunderstandings. All questions asked are answered, and there is no ridicule for asking questions. To my knowledge, no Collaborative Law cases since its inception in 2003 have been appealed or overturned. To my knowledge, no grievances have been filed in a Collaborative Law case. Collaborative Law has Collaborative Law-trained Allied Professionals, Financial Planners, CPAs, Brokers and when needed, Mental Health professionals, Communication Coaches, experts in education (for child issues) and myriad other professionals who make the process more secure and safe and have the knowledge to answer your questions and they are absolutely NEUTRAL in the process. The parties pay for this additional assistance, so, unlike litigation, they are there to help BOTH parties. While your final divorce agreement is subject to approval by the court, there is no real Court involvement. Collaborative Law divorce can avoid having a judge impose terms that no one finds ideal, after a long, contentious, costly battle.
Collaboration, Collaborative Law, and Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR)
Without reiterating the information above, Other than using what I call the Kitchen Table settlement, where the parties sit down and carefully divide their property, debts and children, Collaborative Law is the only way to come out of a Texas divorce and/or SAPCR case unscathed and not traumatized. And, it has the added value of showing your children a rational way to solve disputes. Importantly, Collaborative Law allows you to maintain and sometimes even strengthen the bridges with you soon-to-be ex-spouse, her family and her friends.
Your mutual friends will not be drawn into the controversy, as there are no witnesses. There is no real point in trying to manipulate your children because they are not an active part of the controversy. They are all spared helping you hang your dirty laundry for all to see and talk about, and embarrass. There are no witnesses in Collaborative Law. There are no hearings in Collaborative Law. There is no immense waste of time at the courthouse (remember that every hour, every minute is billed by your attorney at his/her hourly rate). However, the Court must approve and sign off on your parenting plan, so, you will probably not be allowed to create some bizarre plan that would not be in the best interests of the child/children.
Contact a Houston Lawyer for Complex Property Division
There are a number of issues that arise in a high asset divorce. One spouse may attempt to hide assets or under report the value of a business. I have the experience and resources needed to ensure you rights and interests are protected. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, contact Houston divorce attorney Leonard M. Roth today to learn how I can help you.