Representation from a Katy Divorce Attorney
In a community property state, both spouses own equally any income and property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This issue can become complex, however, particularly if the marriage endured for many years. To fully understand how your assets will be divided in a divorce, it is wise to contact a Katy asset division attorney to help you.
Our attorneys at Adams Law Firm have over 35 years of experience guiding individuals through the divorce process to the most favorable conclusion possible. Our trusted family law attorneys have been recognized for their skills and ethical standards with an AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, and we are proud of our reputation as highly regarded legal counsel in family and civil trial law.
Community Property Vs. Separate Property
Per the law, all property and income acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage is to be split equally between them through the divorce, in general. There can be exceptions to this. Along with community property, there can also be separate property. This is property that was either owned by a spouse prior to the marriage, inheritances or gifts given to one spouse during the marriage, or damage awards. Any spouse wishing to keep separate property from being shared by the other spouse will need to prove that it qualifies as separate property.
Further, the court has the ability to divide community property any way it deems, so it’s not always a 50/50 split. For example, it may determine that one spouse, who is still relatively young, healthy and has a good education and job will receive less than the other spouse who was never highly educated and was a stay-at-home parent with no job skills. There can be other factors a judge will consider that affect how community property will be divided, such as who was at fault in ending the marriage, the health of the spouses, and the value of separate property owned by either.
We take great care when we help you to determine which of your property and assets are community property and which assets are separate property. This requires an in-depth review of your entire estate, including any investment funds, real estate owned, any hidden assets, business assets, and more. You can expect professional and completely confidential representation that aggressively seeks to protect your rights and the equitable division of your property. Learn more about how we help and contact our firm today.
Factors That Impact Asset Division
The division of marital assets can easily become a hotly-contested issue during divorce proceedings. Some of the most commonly-contested areas of asset division in Texas divorces include, but are not limited to:
- Motor vehicles
- Individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401(k) plans, pension plans, and retirement accounts
- Stock options
- Family businesses
- Marital debt
- Real estate holdings
- Deferred compensation plans
- Intellectual property
- Investment and brokerage accounts
- Art collections
When the court looks at dividing assets during divorces, it will take a number of factors into account. Some of the factors that the court could consider may include:
- The length of the marriage
- The ability of each spouse to support themselves
- Which spouse has primary custody of the children
- The age and employability of a spouse
- A spouse’s health
- A spouse’s wrongful actions toward the other spouse
- Financial costs incurred by a spouse
- Any other factors that a court deems relevant to the matter
Marital property is considered to be jointly owned by both spouses, unless the property was acquired before the marriage, as the result of a third-party gift, through will or intestate succession, or as compensation for personal injury.
Some asset divisions may be complicated because of commingling. Commingling might occur when one spouse uses marital funds to maintain, improve, or contribute to a property they own separately. In these cases, tracing of financial accounts may be used to locate separate money and help a person recover it.
A spouse may also have the right to file a reimbursement claim when the other spouse has used community funds to increase the value of separate property or to pay off debts on separate property. Reimbursement claims can also be used in situations in which one spouse has invested significant personal time in a business that is classified as separate property.
Frequently Asked Questions About Asset Division
What happens if my spouse agrees with me on how to divide assets?
When this is the case, then you can save the court a lot of work. You merely need to file a Final Decree of Divorce that reflects all of the details of your property agreement. Many divorce cases will have consensus on how shared assets will be divided, with disagreement about asset division limited to only a few personal items.
How will a court divide a family business?
The division of any business can be extremely complicated and can depend on many factors. For example, the court will usually look at the roles that both spouses played in the operation of a business, and whether one or both spouses wish to continue running the business. This could become even more complicated if there are additional parties involved in the ownership of the business. A court can also take the date a business was founded into consideration.
When both spouses want to continue to have roles in the operation of a business, it can be more difficult, but not necessarily impossible, to achieve a workable resolution. If only one spouse wishes to continue running the business, then the nature of the resolution will usually center on fairly compensating the other spouse.
If neither spouse wants to continue the business, then the resolution may involve a sale of the business with proceeds customarily being split equally between the spouses.
What happens if we are both the owners of a home or land?
It’s important for you to make sure you have an attorney so your interests in the home or land are protected. Keep in mind that mortgage lenders are not affected by divorce decrees, which means that if one spouse assumes control of making mortgage payments and doesn’t, the other spouse could then be responsible for the missed payments.
A lawyer can also help you recover money that your spouse is ordered to pay for a shared house or land, although this may need to be secured through putting a lien on the property.
If you want to sell the property, you should have a Special Warranty Deed signed by your spouse and filed with the property records office, or you could encounter difficulties with any sale.
How does debt get divided in a divorce?
Most debt incurred during a marriage is considered community property. As such, it is often split equally between spouses, but there are certain exceptions. Debt that is in one spouse’s name may be assigned solely to that spouse. However, the debt become shared debt if it was used for shared purposes. Courts will typically look at which spouse incurred what debt for which purposes.
If a person has student loan debt for education that happened before the marriage, that debt will usually remain the responsibility of the spouse who took out the loan. When a spouse takes out a credit card during the marriage, the debt could be shared by both spouses unless one spouse used the card specifically for their own purposes.
Will my spouse be entitled to any of my pension or retirement benefits?
Pensions, retirement, and 401(k) accounts are usually considered community property when a person has made contributions to the accounts during the marriage, so a spouse can be entitled to a portion of those benefits. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will be sent to the employer when a court order specifies benefits to be distributed to a spouse.
Like all other property division cases, a court’s decision needs to be fair, but not necessarily equal. Consideration will usually be given to the times that a person contributed to these accounts to determine how much a spouse should be entitled to.
Contact an Asset Division Lawyer Today
If you are struggling to fairly divide the assets in your divorce in Texas, make sure that you have experienced legal representation on your side. Please contact Adams Law Firm as soon as possible.
Our firm has been practicing family law since 1977 and was named the Katy Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year in 2013. You can have us help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call (281) 391-9237 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.