San Antonio High Asset Divorce Attorneys
Experienced counsel for complex and high net worth divorce in South Texas
Divorce can be a challenging and difficult situation for any couple. However, when a significant amount of assets are involved – like a successful business, substantial wealth, or retirement accounts – property division issues can get complex. If you are thinking about divorce, it is important to plan carefully and accordingly to ensure you protect your interests and future, as well as those of your children.
At Grable Grimshaw PLLC, our San Antonio family law attorneys understand the unique circumstances that come along with complex and high asset divorces. We can help you negotiate a fair and equitable property distribution settlement, as well as ensure the proper valuation of all your marital assets. Let us advocate for you throughout the divorce process, keeping your and your children’s best interests in mind the entire way. Contact us today for a consultation.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"I hired Matt Grimshaw as my divorce lawyer and his professionalism and attentiveness to my case was much appreciated. During a time which was very hard and life changing for me, he made me feel comfortable. His caring attitude for me speaks volumes to his work ethic and for me made all the difference. I would recommend him and his staff for any issues that his team can assist with. Thank you Matt and team for being there for me and taking care of me during this time in my life." – Shaun J.
Why is high asset divorce different than traditional divorce?
High asset divorce (also called high net worth divorce or complex divorce) is the formal term used when couples in higher income brackets split up. Couples with high assets often need more legal assistance in property division matters, as dividing joint property can be more complex and complicated. High net worth couples tend to have the following things in common:
- Married for 10 years or more
- Aged mid-thirties or older
- Children are grown or close to age 18
- One or both spouses work outside of the home
- One or both spouses own a business
- Substantial amount of marital/community property
During the divorce process, sticking points and disputes usually revolve around a few main issues – property division, spousal maintenance, and child custody and support matters. Because of the significant amount of assets in play, some couples may have difficulties coming to mutual agreement. This is where the experienced San Antonio divorce attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC can help.
What are some important issues to consider during a high asset divorce?
Although the majority of divorce aspects are similar for any couple going through a divorce, no matter what assets or income bracket you are working with, you should pay special attention to the following key issues:
Property and asset division
With Texas being a community property state, distribution of assets (and debts) is a crucial part of the divorce process. To ensure this division is completed in an equitable and fair manner, the first step is determining which is separate and which is marital property. Per their names, separate property would be anything you or your spouse acquired before you were married, plus any gifts, inheritances, or settlements designated specifically to one partner. Community and marital property, on the other hand, is all the assets you acquired together during the marriage.
The property division process is where matters can become complicated or even acrimonious. Assets that were once considered separate may have become marital over the years (called commingling). One spouse may intentionally or inadvertently attempt to conceal assets from the other, which is against the law. The attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC can help ensure all assets and debts are classified and divided fairly and properly.
When one spouse will need financial support upon divorce, the court will consider awarding spousal maintenance. Under Texas Family Code, an individual is eligible for maintenance (also called alimony) when “the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the spouse's separate property, on dissolution of the marriage to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs.”
The court has discretion in awarding (or not awarding) spousal maintenance, as well as for the amount and length they find appropriate. However, to be eligible for alimony under Texas law, an individual must prove they lack these resources. When determining spousal maintenance awards, the court takes a variety of factors into account, including the length of the marriage and each spouse’s:
- Age and physical health
- Current income and earning capacity
- Financial resources and assets post-divorce
- Educational and professional background
- Access to education and/or training to become financially independent
- Marital misconduct (if applicable)
- Current standard of living
Spousal maintenance can be determined as a part of your final divorce agreement, or earlier in the process, as a separation agreement. The San Antonio complex divorce attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC can explain more.
Texas uses a percentage of income model when determining child support obligations, with the non-custodial parent paying child support. This child support model works as follows:
- 1 child – 20% of Obligor's Monthly Net Resources
- 2 children – 25% of Obligor's Monthly Net Resources
- 3 children – 30% of Obligor's Monthly Net Resources
- 4 children – 35% of Obligor's Monthly Net Resources
- 5 children – 40% of Obligor's Monthly Net Resources
- 6+ children – Not less than the amount for 5 children
For a high income earner, even 25 percent of net resources could run into the tens of thousands of dollars. This is why Texas implemented a child support cap, meaning that the court has discretion in the amount of child support they award when an obligor’s monthly resources exceed a certain amount. The state adjusts this number every six years; it currently stands at 9,200 dollars.
If you own a business, you must take extra care when creating your divorce settlement. Ensure you work with your attorney to perform a proper business valuation, as well as create an inventory of your business assets and debts. An expert business valuator can assess the true value of your company to get all the assets and liabilities out on the table while you work to negotiate a fair and proper settlement. At Grable Grimshaw PLLC, we advocate for you and protect your best interests.
Can I protect myself with a premarital agreement?
Yes. Premarital agreements, commonly referred to as prenuptial agreements, are an excellent way to protect oneself in a high asset divorce. When one or two individuals with substantial assets decide to marry, they typically want to safeguard that property in case the marriage ends – and the best way to do that is through a premarital agreement. These documents, when done with the help of an attorney, are legally binding and enforceable through the court.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that you cannot determine any arrangements related to children (like child support or child custody) in a premarital or postmarital agreement.
Informed legal guidance for high asset and complex divorce in San Antonio
No divorce is easy, but this can be especially true when you are trying to unravel a high asset marriage. The San Antonio attorneys at Grable Grimshaw understand these challenges and can work with you in identifying separate versus community property, determining spousal maintenance, and protecting your business and financial interests. To schedule a consultation with our team, call 210-761-5687 or fill out our contact form. We serve clients throughout South Texas.