What is a complex divorce?

A complex divorce is one in which many or complicated issues are involved. Often, outside assistance or specialized knowledge is necessary to resolve the issues and adequately protect the interests of the parties involved.

Frequently involved in a complex divorce are high-value assets or assets in dispute. Real estate, both in-state and out-of-state, and jointly or family owned businesses are examples of a high-value assets that must be valued and distributed as part of a divorce. Often valuing a business is a complicated matter for which experts, such as accountants and appraisers, may need to be involved.

Because Texas is a community property state, the characterization of property as either community or separate is an important and often complicated matter to be undertaken. Pursuant to community property rules, all property, other than inheritances, gifts and proceeds from personal injury lawsuits, acquired during the marriage are part of the marital or community estate. Each spouse has a one-half interest in community assets. Therefore, it is critical that when assets have been comingled to properly characterize them as separate or community. Properly characterizing assets is necessary to ensure equitable division of property.

Assets which may present complex issues of classification include retirement accounts (401(k) accounts and pensions); bank accounts (checking accounts, savings accounts); deferred compensation and executive bonuses.

Assets held in trust, investments, stocks and bonds, and royalties are other assets for which complicated issues may arise. For example, tax issues can arise when it comes to valuing and distributing high-value assets, investments and off-shore accounts. Working with an attorney experienced in these matters is a good idea.

Another situation in which experienced legal representation is beneficial is in cases of bad behavior by one spouse. Bad behavior includes dissipation of assets, hiding assets and concealing debts. In such cases, thorough investigation, perhaps with the help of an outside investigator or forensic accountant, may be necessary to ensure a spouse's misbehavior is uncovered.

Complex issues are not limited to purely financial matters. In some cases, child custody and visitation is hotly contested and genuine issues of what is in the best interests of the children arise. Mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers may need to be used to resolve such complex disputes.

Contact Fabio & Merrill today

The attorneys at Fabio & Merrill are experienced representing the individuals for whom substantial wealth and assets must be divided. They understand the complex divorce process, including how to investigate and perform property valuation and accounting. For answers to all your Texas divorce-related questions, contact Fabio & Merrill today to schedule a consultation with an attorney.