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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

Heiress's high net worth divorce shows need for wealth protection

When one or both spouses have considerable wealth going into a Texas marriage, it's imperative for couples to understand how family laws affect finances. Many affluent couples sign prenuptial agreements that dictate how marital property is divided in the event of divorce. Bypassing a prenuptial contract can subject a couple's collective fortune to community property rules.

High net worth divorces take time to resolve because separate and marital assets are frequently extensive in number and complexity. One or more professionals often are required to track property and debts, including any suspected hidden assets. Valuations are necessary to determine the current and projected worth of businesses, stocks, investments and retirement accounts.

The granddaughter of Bud Walton, the late co-founder of Wal-Mart, married in 2008. Now, less than six years into her marriage, the wealthy heiress wants a divorce.

The official reason she gave for the couple's split is irreconcilable differences, but a simultaneous civil suit indicates that the couple's problems are financial. The wife has accused her husband of embezzling money from a West Coast retail operation the couple operated. The lawsuit claims that the husband made far more than the $250,000 salary he was paid to manage the center.

Reports stated that the man talked his wife into letting him employ a friend of his as a co-manager. The men allegedly called themselves general contractors and then dipped into the company's funds to the tune of $70,000 per month. However, the woman reportedly signed a prenuptial agreement that guaranteed she would pay spousal support if the couple divorced.

Protecting wealth before, during and after marriage takes effort, but the time devoted to preserving assets is worth it. If you've decided to divorce or think divorce is possible, the earlier you receive legal and financial advice, the stronger your position will be.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Wal-Mart heiress Paige Laurie Dubbert’s new arena - divorce court" Lisa Gutierrez, Apr. 22, 2014

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