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Poker winnings may be at stake in high asset divorce

The simple truth is that some couples in Dallas will have significantly high-value assets to divide should they find themselves at the end of a marriage. These can make property division a challenge. It is important to understand the community property laws here in Texas and how they will play out in the divorce process.

As an example of community property law's effects, we can take a look at one recent high-profile divorce, that of Pamela Anderson and Rick Salomon. Pamela Anderson will be known to our Dallas readers as the star of the television show "Baywatch"; Salomon is probably best known for appearing in an amateur sex tape with Paris Hilton. This is actually their second separation: their first marriage in 2007 lasted for two months, after which Anderson obtained an annulment. They got married for the second time last January.

Notably, just days before the filing, Salomon found himself the fourth-place winner in a major poker tournament. He walked away with a little under $3 million in winnings. Because California, like Texas, is a community property state, Anderson may be entitled to a share of this sum if the couple does not have a prenuptial agreement.

Community property law generally means that assets a couple obtained while they were married belong to both of them together. This includes money that they earned from their jobs, a home (or homes) they purchased together as well as the furnishings they purchased, any interest they earned on investments they made together and similar assets. Texas courts will divide marital property equitably, meaning the division may not be exactly down the middle; judges may consider each divorcing partner's future earning capacity, for example. They may also give greater weight in property division to a spouse who will have primary child custody.

It becomes clear, then, why couples in a high asset divorce may find property division a more complicated matter than others. A legal professional can often help in divorce scenarios involving jointly-owned businesses, for example, valuable investment accounts or even sudden windfalls.

Source: Stixs, "Twice Is Not The Charm For Pamela Anderson She Files Divorce A Second Time From Rick Salomon!" Donna Thomas, July 9, 2014

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