Navigating Large Estate Divorces

large house

Finalizing a divorce can be a difficult task, especially when there are large assets involved. Whether there’s a large house, numerous vehicles, or other high-valued possessions, it’s important to understand common steps and the rights you’re granted. Let’s explore a few different guidelines when it comes to navigating large estate divorces in Texas:

1. Divorce in a Community Property State

In some divorce cases, you’ll see one party make out with a lot more assets than the other. This is not always the case in Texas. State legislators have regulated these types of cases by making Texas a community property state. This means the bar set for the distribution of assets is viewed as just and right division. This of course comes at the discretion of the judge, but in most cases, property is split equally.

So, when it comes to large estate divorces, this means that both spouses will each be awarded some property. Dividing the estate takes place in two different forms:

a. Sell the property and divide net sale proceeds; or

b. Buyout the other spouse of their share.

In a sell and divide, both spouses agree to sell the property and split any remaining profits. This is the most popular option when it comes to large estate divorces in a community property state.

In a buyout, one spouse will opt to take full control of the property in exchange for something else. The buyout can be in the form of cash for half the value, or the buyout could be in the award of another valuable asset being awarded to the other spouse. For example, if spouses have a house with equity of $100,000 and a rare car collection worth $100,000, each party could take one asset and it would function as buying the other spouse out of the half of the other asset. For more complicated estates with assets that do not match up so perfectly like in that example, your attorney will use a complicated spreadsheet to make proposed settlement offers that ensure that your rights to the property are protected and you get the just and right division of the estate that you deserve.

2. Purchases Before a Finalized Divorce

In Texas, major purchases that are made before a divorce is finalized are still viewed as joint property. This is one of the more common errors made by people filing for divorce in the Lone Star State. One way this policy can create a nightmare is when it comes to buying a home. For example, let’s say you’re in the process of a divorce. The terms of your divorce are not final, but you find a house you really like. If you put earnest money down or sign on the house before your divorce is final, Texas law states that your soon-to-be ex-spouse may have a legal claim to your new home – including asking the judge to award that new home to the other spouse in a divorce trial.

Make sure to talk to a trusted attorney before making a major purchase if you are thinking about divorce or already have a divorce pending. Using separate property money, a partition of property (post-nuptial agreement), or mediation can ensure specific property is awarded to a specific spouse.

3. Practical Expectations

Large estate divorce tends to leave both parties involved thinking one of two ways – they’ll make out with almost all the assets or be left with next to nothing. This just isn’t true. You’ll more than likely fall somewhere in between and it’s very beneficial to go into the asset division process with this practical expectation in mind. This way, you’re neither let down nor overwhelmed in the end.

It’s also important to be respectful with your spouse during a large asset divorce settlement. Depending on your circumstances, it could be tempting to try and get your revenge. However, in the end, no one really wins in these instances. Remain calm, inquire about your options with a trusted attorney, and you’ll be in safe hands.

For more information on divorce in the state of Texas, contact Camille Borg Law PLLC, today!