One of the hardest aspects of divorce, aside from custody rights of children, is the division of assets. Texas‘s divorce rate is 1.5 per every 1,000 marriages. When a couple goes through a divorce, it is devastating, and the division of assets is almost always contentious. Division of assets and property can quickly turn divorce cases into a heated argument as both parties know that the assets involved will shape their post-divorce lives.
These disputes can arise anytime during a divorce, and if you suspect you might have to battle for your assets, it is best not to do it alone. The experienced legal team at the Law Office of Chris Schmiedeke, P.C. is ready to assist you with your property division struggles.
Most states in the nation use an equitable distribution model for splitting property. Texas, however, is one of nine community property states in the union, which means under Texas law, everything in the marital estate that is considered community property, or marital property, is divided equally among the spouses in the divorce process.
The biggest arguments during a divorce case in Texas come from the characterization of assets as community vs. separate property. It falls upon the spouse to prove whether the property in question is separate property as all property is presumed to be community. If you are facing a divorce and are not sure whether your property is community or separate, contact the law firm of Chris Schiedeke at 214-643-8904 or fill out our easy contact form to schedule a free consultation today.
Community property is everything acquired during the marriage, except for gifts, inheritances, and specific exceptions. Examples of community property include employment earnings (including lost wages payments, stock options, and unemployment), houses and real estate purchased during the marriage, vehicles purchased while married, contributions to retirement accounts made after the marriage, and all checking and savings accounts.
Separate property is that owned before the marriage or acquired during the marriage through inheritance, as a gift, or from a personal injury settlement. A house purchased before the marriage, a car bought for a spouse by their parents, jewelry given to one spouse by the other, pre-marriage retirement contributions, and a spouse’s inheritance are all things that could be considered separate property.
However, for an item to be classified as separate property during a divorce proceeding, the spouse who owns the property must meet the burden of proof that the property is separate and not community property. The court will presume that the property is community unless proven otherwise.
This is a complicated issue. Any contributions to a retirement account made before the marriage are separate property, but any contributions made during the marriage are community property. This includes contributions to a 401k, pension, IRA, and other retirement accounts.
Several factors are considered when dividing marital debts. These include the tax consequences of the debts, each spouse’s ability to pay the debt, and whether it is joint or separate. As with other aspects of a marital estate, it falls upon the spouse to provide clear, compelling evidence that a debt is separate property, or it may be considered communal and divided as part of the divorce settlement. Several types of debt may be divided during a divorce.
A mortgage on a house shared by the spouses can be split during a divorce if the house is community property. For this reason, spouses often seek to determine who takes complete ownership of the property.
Student loans would be community property if they were obtained during the marriage. To establish them as separate property, the spouse must provide clear and compelling evidence that the loans were taken before the marriage occurred.
Any medical expenses acquired during the marriage are community property. Both spouses have the responsibility to pay them. As with other types of community property, if the medical costs were acquired before the marriage and the spouse can present clear evidence of this, the debt may be considered separate property.
Couples who purchase a car during the marriage share responsibility for the car payments, even if the vehicle is in only one spouse’s name. These debts can be divided, so long as the car was purchased during the marriage and was not a gift or inheritance.
Credit card debts can be split in a divorce unless there is clear and compelling evidence that the debt existed outside of the marriage. Specifically, the debt should have been acquired before the couple was married to count as separate property.
A complex property division is one where there is a high valuation of assets. Examples of complex property can include business interests or substantial real estate. These assets can have significant tax consequences and become very contentious during divorce proceedings. They often require the services of appraisers who can provide the value of these assets so the overall value of the community estate can be determined.
Hiring the services of Dallas property division attorneys can be essential to ensuring you get a fair division of property. They have legal experience and knowledge and can level the playing field during asset division. Consider also that your spouse will likely have a divorce lawyer in their corner and your best bet to fight back is to have a knowledgeable and experienced divorce and family law attorney in your corner as well.
Chris Schmiedeke is an experienced attorney serving clients in Dallas county, including the Dallas–Fort Worth metro area, Frisco, and the surrounding counties of Collin, Denton, and Tarrant and the cities of McKinney, Plano, and other nearby communities. Our law firm cares deeply for our clients, and we put our attorney-client relationship before everything else.
If you are facing a difficult divorce with significant liabilities and division of assets and need help fighting for your financial future, we are here to listen and help. Contact us at 214-643-8904
or use our online contact form to schedule a free case review with no obligation and no disclaimers today.