All divorces pose unique challenges, but high-asset divorces can be particularly complex. The more you have to divide, the harder it can be to make sure that you’re getting a fair deal.
In Texas, the community property laws generally presume (with some exceptions) that everything you and your spouse own, you own together – and you’re each entitled to half. However, it’s easy to forget about certain assets when you’re in the thick of negotiations, especially if you aren’t conscious of their value.
Could you have overlooked any of these?
The more thorough you are about the asset division process, the easier it is to protect your interests. That means making sure that you don’t overlook or undervalue things like the following:
- Deferred compensation: When it comes to your spouse’s income, don’t let “out of sight” be “out of mind.” Restricted stock units, stock options, unvested bonuses and other kinds of delayed compensation can all have significant worth.
- Credit card points and airline miles: These may have been quietly accumulating for years, and can easily be worth thousands of dollars. Don’t assume that they simply go to the person whose name is on the card or account.
- Digital assets: These can include online accounts, cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and even things like websites.
- Intellectual property: Even if your spouse is the “creative” in the household, you have an interest in any patents, copyrights or trademarks they may have from their work.
- Business interests: It’s very important to make certain that your spouse gives you a full disclosure of all their business holdings, including any silent partnerships or investment stakes in startups.
- Club memberships: You may have paid thousands for a country club membership. Even if you don’t want the membership anymore, that can still be considered an asset.
- Capital loss carryovers: This is a “hidden” asset that can allow you to use the prior tax year’s capital losses to reduce the coming tax year’s obligations, so they could end up being quite important.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to divide everything exactly down the middle. When you negotiate with your spouse, it’s all about the value that each item has and making sure that each of you walk away with an appropriate share of your marital estate.