A primary concern that every divorcing couple faces is the division of marital property, which can become exceptionally complicated – and exceptionally contentious – exceptionally quickly. Because this division will directly affect your financial future, protecting your rights from the outset is critical. And for that, you need an experienced Fort Worth property division attorney on your side.
Even seemingly simple situations can be complicated when it comes to property division. You need to protect your future and financial interests by seeking the right divorce help.
Marital property – or community property – refers to all those assets you came to own after you married. The name attached and the matter of who made the purchase have no bearing on whether or not the asset is marital. Generally, if you, your spouse, or both of you together came to own the asset while you were married, it’s marital property – with the following two exceptions:
One of the most challenging factors when it comes to the division of marital property in a Texas divorce is establishing your marital assets in their entirety.
Separate property that was owned by either of you alone at the time of your marriage remains the original owner’s separate property if it’s kept separate throughout the marriage, which can be a sticking point. The matter of separate property is often more complicated than it might seem. Consider the following:
Things can become even more complicated if the separate property is a business. For example, if the owner of the business also works there but does not pay themself a fair wage for doing so, it affects the amount the spouse brings into the household, which can nudge the business closer to marital-property status.
If you and your spouse are able to negotiate a division of your marital property without the court’s direct intervention, you can resolve the matter outside of court – with the careful guidance of your respective property division attorneys. If not, however, you can expect the court to consider the following primary factors when it comes to the just and right division of your marital property in your unique case:
The court will consider you and your spouse’s financial standing relative to one another. If the divorce will leave one of you without the ability to support yourself financially, it could directly affect the division of your marital property.
Your age can also play a role. If you’re both relatively young, you’ll each have the opportunity to continue forging careers that support you moving forward. If you are nearing retirement age, however, the matter is very different.
If you have shared children who will be living primarily with one of you, child support will address this fact, but the court may also take this immense expense into consideration in relation to the division of your marital property.
Your marital assets will be offset by your marital debt, which is the debt you accumulated while you were married. The court will consider the nature of this debt in the division of marital property. For example, if your spouse claims debt that is held by a family member or a close friend, the court may determine that it is unlikely to ever be paid back and may factor this into the division of your marital property. It’s important to note that marital debt can play a significant role in your property division overall.
While attorney fees generally come out of the marital property – reducing the amount there is to be distributed between the two of you – this isn’t always the case. If, for example, your spouse demonstrates a focused desire to rack up unnecessary legal expenses, the court can adjust the division of marital property accordingly.
The court will also consider each spouse’s level of education relative to the other’s, which closely guides earning potential. Overall employability encompasses a wide range of factors, including the following:
If there is a significant discrepancy between the two of you, such as the difference between a postgraduate degree and a high school education, the court will carefully consider the matter in relation to the division of marital property.
If your spouse takes it upon themself to dissipate assets by engaging in any of the following, the court will take a dim view, and it could affect the division of your marital property:
Additional factors that can affect the division of marital assets include the following:
The experienced property division attorneys at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Forth Worth Family Law dedicate their focused practice to protecting the financial rights of valued clients in Fort Worth, Southlake, Denton, and nearby cities in Texas just like you. Your case is important, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about how we can help today.