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Lawsuit over property division in high asset Dallas divorce

When married Dallas couples split up, a great deal of legal and personal effort will likely be devoted to answering the seemingly simple question of who gets what. If couples do not have a prenuptial agreement or do not reach a settlement between themselves, a court will rule on property division -- but it's important for that court to have all the information available in order to make a fair decision.

One Dallas-based divorce story currently making headlines involves allegations that one divorcing spouse hid assets from the other that should have been considered during property division. Local billionaire Sam Wyly and wife Torie Steele were married from 1978 to 1991, during which time he became chairman of the board at Michael's Stores and co-founded Sterling Software. When they divorced, Wyly kept the vast majority of the stock he owned in both companies as community property.

However, a few years ago federal regulators accused Wyly of serious white-collar crimes, including the allegation that much of Wyly's stock in the companies was hidden from Steele (and everyone else) at the time of their divorce. She has recently filed suit against her ex-husband claiming that she is entitled to half of the stock that went undisclosed during the divorce process, although the value of that stock has yet to be determined.

Property division, particularly in a high asset divorce, can be an incredibly complex undertaking. In order to accurately value the assets couples possess, it's not uncommon to hire professionals who specialize in this field. If a spouse suspects the other isn't being entirely forthcoming, forensic accountants may be required. A family law professional will recognize when these types of services will benefit a divorcing spouse and can take the lead in coordinating their efforts to gather evidence to present in court.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, "Former Dallas billionaire Sam Wyly's ex-wife now claims he hid stock from her too," Robert Wilonsky, Jan. 27, 2015

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