McKinney Property Division Lawyer
Skilled Marital Property & Debt Division in Collin, Denton, & Dallas Counties, TX
Marital property and debt division is often a contentious and complex issue in Texas divorce proceedings. This issue can lead to protracted wrangling between spouses over matters ranging from a marital home to other assets, such as vacation and commercial real estate, family businesses, retirement accounts, stock portfolios, etc.
At Petitt Family Law, we understand the intricacies, especially for high-value assets and LGBT couples with complex issues. We aim to provide the skilled counsel and support you need throughout this challenging process. Our highly experienced attorney will work to help you achieve a fair, honest, and just outcome that protects your legal rights and best interests. We aim to help you transition to your new life as a single person with as much financial security and confidence as possible.
Request a confidential case evaluation with our McKinney property division attorney. Call us at (469) 716-6893 or contact us online to get started.
Marital Property & Debt Division in Texas
Texas follows the community property system, meaning all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered "community property" and are subject to division in a divorce. However, this does not automatically translate to a 50/50 split. The law stipulates that the division should be "just and right," considering factors such as each spouse's income potential, health, fault in the breakup of the marriage, and the best interest of children, among others.
Community marital property in Texas can include:
- Income: All wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, and other income earned by either spouse during the marriage.
- Real Estate: Any real estate purchased during the marriage, including the family home, vacation properties, rental properties, or land.
- Vehicles: Cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, or other vehicles purchased during the marriage.
- Furniture and Household Items: This includes appliances, electronics, artwork, jewelry, and other tangible items purchased during the marriage.
- Investments: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement accounts, pensions, and other investment accounts contributed to during the marriage.
- Business Interests: If a business was started or acquired during the marriage, it's typically considered community property. This also applies to any increase in value or profits of a business during the marriage.
- Debts: Just as assets are shared, so are debts. This can include mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, and personal loans incurred during the marriage.
- Gifts Given to Each Other: Any gifts spouses give each other during the marriage are generally considered marital property.
- Intellectual Property Rights: Copyrights, patents, and royalties earned during the marriage are considered community property.
Separate vs. Community Property
Separate property, which includes assets owned before the marriage, gifts, inheritance, and personal injury awards, belongs to the spouse who acquired it and typically remains theirs after a divorce.
However, proving separate property can be complicated, especially if assets have been blended or mixed with community property during the marriage.
One typical example of commingled property that can be contested in a divorce is a house purchased before the marriage by one spouse (thus initially considered separate property), but where both spouses contribute to the mortgage payments or home improvements during the marriage.
Resolving such disputes often requires tracing the funds back to their source to determine what portion of the property is separate and what portion is community. This complex process often requires professional valuation and, potentially, even forensic accounting.
High-Value Assets & Other Complications
High-value assets, businesses or business interests, professional practices, overseas accounts, retirement accounts, pensions, and hidden assets can further complicate property division.
For instance, valuing a business for division purposes can be intricate and often requires professional expert valuation. Similarly, dividing retirement and pension plans may necessitate a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Hidden assets, where one spouse conceals assets to avoid division, can also add complexity, requiring thorough investigation and asset tracing.
For LGBT couples, property division can be challenging due to the historical lack of legal recognition for same-sex relationships. This can impact how long the couple is considered to have been married and which assets qualify as marital property.
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements in Property Division
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can significantly impact property division. These legally binding contracts allow couples to decide how their assets and debts would be divided in the event of a divorce, providing clarity and potentially simplifying the division process.
However, for these agreements to be enforceable, they must meet specific legal requirements, such as full disclosure of assets and independent legal counsel for both parties.
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Simply the best lawyer I have ever had. I have had the pleasure of having her work on my case for a year. She is full of information and guidance. She is not afraid to tell you if what you think is a bad move and direct you in the right direction. She will not let you down.- Anonymous
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