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Dividing High Value Assets As Community Property


When a couple has a high net worth between them, dividing marital assets down the middle can be complicated. Ensuring that both spouses receive their half of the community property in a can be quite complex. It is important to ensure that you have an attorney on your side who knows the relevant procedures.

Which Assets Are Community?

As one might expect, community assets are those which were acquired or rose in value due to active management during the marriage. This does mean that sometimes, separate property such as real estate can become community if improvements are made to it or it otherwise increases in value, since, at least in theory, community funds would be used to do so. However, this also applies to inchoate assets like stock portfolios, even if they are only in one spouse’s name. Anything that is enriched by community assets (such as funds from the spouses’ paychecks) generally qualifies.

The occasions where such assets will not be classified as community are generally, if the spouses have disposed of the asset in a prenuptial or other marital agreement; or if it is disposed of in another settlement from a competent court.

Potential Issues in Asset Division

There are two major factors which routinely appear in cases with high value assets which can affect the distribution. The first is the potential specter of hidden assets. Sometimes spouses to attempt to hide assets from each other. Signs to look out for can include: unusually large purchases or sales, transferring property or other items to friends or other family, and hiding money in secret accounts. It is possible that you might be awarded at least one half of the value of anything your spouse hid (especially if it cannot be recovered) if the court finds their behavior to be marital waste.

The second issue is the potential tax liability. After a divorce, one person’s portion of the marital estate can catapult their individual filing (as opposed to a couple) into a different tax bracket entirely. A good attorney understands how best to analyze these issues and set up the tax obligations so they do not break the bank.

Contact A Dedicated Attorney

Divorce is difficult enough; having to worry about ensuring you receive your fair share of assets that are partly yours to begin with should not be allowed to make things worse. If you need help getting through the process, or just have questions, the attorneys at the Kainen Law Group are happy to assist. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation.


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