In divorce, asset division increases in complexity as the variety and value of the property at issue grow. Some types of assets are easy to evaluate and divide, but others, such as real estate and retirement accounts, are more challenging and require special attention. This issue is further complicated by the parties’ emotional attachment to certain assets or standards of living.
How Property is Divided in a Divorce
Texas is a community property state meaning that most, if not all, properties that were acquired during the marriage are considered to belong to both parties, and must be divided between them at the time of divorce. The attorneys of Gray Becker are knowledgeable about these issues and have developed numerous strategies for approaching property division.
Over many decades, the legal team has created a network of trusted professionals who assist with asset valuation, including CPAs, tax advisers, appraisers, and business valuation experts. The lawyers of Gray Becker are also experienced with the complex matters of international property division.
Consequently, the firm is well-positioned to help clients with the valuation and division of investments, along with many other types of assets, including:
Retirement accounts, including 401(k) accounts, pension plans, and IRAs
Life insurance policies
Frequent flyer miles and other reward programs
Country club memberships
Executive compensation and benefits
Restricted Stock Units and Employee Stock Purchase Plans
Oil, gas, and mineral interests
Separate vs. Community Assets
Again, although Texas is considered a community property state, marital assets are not simply divided 50/50 between the spouses. Rather, the court is responsible for determining a division that it considers “just and right” based on the specific circumstances of the couple, the complexities of the marriage, and the divorce.
To do this, the court first classifies all of the owned assets of both spouses as either separate or community property. This determination is made based on Texas Family Code, whether the specific asset was owned by one spouse before the date of marriage, or if the property was acquired during the period of marriage.
Often, tracing experts must be hired to provide clear and convincing evidence to the court that the property belongs to one spouse. Additionally, Separate Property can mutate and mutated property can still be considered Separate Property. For example, if cash from one spouse was used to purchase a home before the marriage, a portion of the house purchased with Separate Property funds is considered Separate Property.
Other separate assets can include:
Personal gifts to one spouse from a third party
Items or property from direct inheritance
Damages awards acquired during the marriage from a personal injury case
Almost all remaining assets or debts (unless expressly excluded from division by a binding pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement) are considered community property and are subject to property division in a divorce.
A Texas property division attorney with experience in how to divide property in a divorce can provide you with more detailed state-based information so you can better prepare for the division of assets.
Our firm’s most guiding objective in every divorce is to protect our client’s best interests. Experience has shown that out-of-court settlement is typically the most prudent course of action. The legal team at Gray Becker has developed effective strategies for applying leverage to achieve a client’s goals.
To arrange a consultation with one of our experienced Texas property division lawyers, contact the firm online. Gray Becker is located near the courthouse among Austin’s historic homes and serves clients throughout Central Texas, including Round Rock, Westlake, and Georgetown.
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