This is about high-net worth divorce. My husband's total income was about 3 times of mine, and we married about 10 years ago. There is no kid in our marriage, but my husband has a kid with his previous marriage. As of today, his net worth is three times of mine, if our finance was separated after marriage. We don't have prenuptial agreement. Our net worth grows most significantly after the marriage.
You need to review the Murff case as it sets out factors that the Court can consider upon divorce. Everything is presumptively community property here; burden of proof is squarely on the shoulders of someone claiming something as separate to prove that it is separate by tracing to the moment of inception of title. Think "just and true" and "fair and equitable." The larger the estate, the more likely a Court is to make a 50/50 division, absent fraud or some other type of wrong doing.
Accepting cases in Dallas, Denton, Collin, Rockwall and Tarrant Counties. The advice given here is not and should not be taken as a substitute for in-person consultation with counsel, particularly where legal documents, such as court orders need to be reviewed. I am Board-Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
All assets--regardless of whose name the title is in--are presumed to be community assets, subject to a fair and equitable division (usually 50%). In order for an asset to be considered separate property, that fact must be proven by clear and convincing evidence--usually documents. If a separate asset has increased in value, that is irrelevant unless there was a mortgage on the property that the community estate made the payments on and therefore increased its equity. In such a matter, the community estate is entitled to reimbursement for the amount of principal paid with community funds. The fact that your husband has a child is irrelevant.
You should consult an attorney now to plan for your next steps before you do anything. Assume nothing.
The issues you may address in your divorce include but are not limited to property division (which includes identifying property that you hold as your separate property, identifying community property and debts), property transfer, alimony or maintenance and possibly a name change for you.
In a divorce, the court has jurisdiction to divide community property of the parties, which is presumed to be all property or liability obtained during the marriage in the absence of a premarital agreement to change that rule. Property acquired before marriage is characterized as separate property, and therefore is not subject to division by the court. Separate property may also be obtained during marriage by gift, inheritance, or through personal injury damages (but lost wages obtained through a personal injury suit are community). However, income to separate property during the marriage is a community asset. Obviously, this gets a bit complicated, and there are numerous rules for particular kinds of assets.
In your scenario, it would be normal to seek a disproportionate division of assets because of the great difference in your income and his, even if there is no bad behavior.
An obvious consideration in your case might be alimony or maintenance. Alimony is tax deductible for the paying spouse, and is treated as taxable income to the recipient, but ONLY until December 31, 2018 as a result of the latest tax reform bill. Often, a high wage earner is interested in a deduction, and you would presumably pay a lower tax rate on alimony recieved since you make less money. Usually, alimony should be paid for at least three years to maintain its deductibility. You would need to consult a CPA to address your particular circumstance.
A Court may order alimony or post divorce maintenance to continue for: (1) 5 years if the parties were married less than 10 years and the maintenance is awarded on the basis of family violence; (2) 5 years if the parties were married more than 10 years, but less than 20 years. (3) 7 years if the parties were married more than 20 years, but less than 30 years; (4) 10 years if the parties were married for more than 30 years. Texas Family Code § 8.054. However, courts are reluctant to order alimony, or post divorce maintenance except in the necessary case. Many other factors are evaluated, including but not limited to the size of the marital estate to divide, the earning capacity of the person seeking alimony among others.
Information and materials posted here are intended only as general information and are NOT intended to constitute legal advice. This information is not applicable to any specific set of facts, nor to your particular circumstances. Your review of this response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship with the attorney(s) listed in it. This response does not create an attorney client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Shelly B. West. Shelly B. West is licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Texas. Shelly B. West is Not Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Sign up to receive a 10-part series of useful information and legal advice about the divorce process.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline