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Assets held in other countries in divorce cases

On Behalf of | May 22, 2020 | Blog, Divorce |

Preserving assets during a high net worth divorce is frequently a key consideration. Wealthy couples who go through divorces in Texas might encounter special issues when their estates include multinational interests and assets held solely overseas. In those types of cases, the laws of multiple jurisdictions and countries can affect the assets and how they are divided.

Countries treat the titling of assets differently from each other. For example, couples in Texas might choose to title their jointly owned real estate as tenancies by the entireties. If they divorce, the titles will be automatically converted to tenancies in common so that each spouse retains his or her separate interest in the property. In other countries, however, a tenancy by the entirety is not recognized. For example, if a couple who divorces owns property in the Cayman Islands, the courts will treat it as a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship. If the property is not retitled after the divorce, the real estate in the Cayman Islands will pass to the surviving ex-spouse as a whole.

The structuring of assets in different countries can also be challenging. Courts may have trouble applying the laws of other countries. Some countries may divide trust assets between spouses for trusts that are held in other countries that do not recognize trusts as separate entities.

People who are contemplating a high-asset divorce in Texas might want to consult with experienced property division and divorce lawyers. A lawyer who handles cases involving assets held in other countries may be better positioned to help to protect his or her client’s rights. The lawyer might work with forensic accountants to track down assets that are held overseas and help his or her client to navigate through the complexities of the laws in Texas and the other jurisdiction.