Division of Assets for Individuals
How Property Is Divided During Divorce
Property is divided differently in every state. With some exceptions, there are nine states in the U.S. that consider themselves community property states. Community, in the legal sense, refers to the property acquired while a couple was married. For example, if a couple jointly bought a boat during their marriage and then decided to obtain a divorce, the boat along with all other jointly owned property would be divided equally. This is in direct comparison to an equitable division. Although the state of Texas is a community property state, family law sometimes allows for an equitable distribution of the property that was jointly owned, according to Texas Family Code Section 7.001. Equitable, while not split evenly, is split fairly. Fairness is based upon a variety of factors including each spouse’s income, expenses and circumstances.
Even though a married couple shares the bulk of their assets, there may be some things that are individually owned. This is considered separate property, rather than community property. For example, if one spouse had a vacation home prior to marriage, even if the vacation home was jointly used by both spouses, in the event of a divorce the vacation home would go back to the spouse who owned it prior to marriage. Inherited items and money are also included in separate property. This has the potential to include things like stock accounts, insurance and business investments. The assets that will be divided in the event of a divorce do not only include physical property such as jewelry or commercial buildings. Property division includes non-physical property such as intellectual property, retirement benefits and stock accounts. Below are examples of other assets that can be divided:
- Oil & Gas Interests
- Primary Residence
- Rental Properties
- Country Club and Private Club Memberships
- Business Investments
- Loans to Businesses
- Stocks in Privately Held Company
Don’t get cut short!
These issues are typically not as black and white as they may seem on the surface. Property that is held in one spouse’s name may have been paid for by the other spouse’s inheritance, for example. Things tend to look very different on paper than they do when you dig a little deeper. Digging deeper to find out rightful ownership is what this firm can do for you. Although Texas is a community property state, there are special considerations that need to be taken into account in order to make sure that both parties are fairly distributed assets. There may be special health issues to take into consideration and each spouse’s income must also be evaluated.