Property Division Lawyer Houston: Making Asset Division Easy.
When people decide to get divorced, asset division is often one of the most contested issues. In a divorce, it is essential that property is divided fairly so that you can feel confident about your future life as a single individual.
Texas is a community property state, which means that property is split into community and separate property.
At Skillern Firm we can help you arrive at a property division agreement using mediation, which can save you time and money. If this is not possible, we are equally skilled in litigation and have what it takes to take your case to court.
We prioritize the attorney-client relationship and understand that each case is unique. We understand that a good family lawyer will take the time to understand your needs and fight for them. That way, you can move on with your new life in confidence.
Give our law firm a call today at 936-213-8479 to arrange an initial consultation with a Houston property division lawyer.
Texas Is a Community Property State
Texas is a community property state, which means courts must split all community property equally between ex-spouses.
All debts that either spouse incurred during the marriage are also considered community debts and belong to divorcing spouses equally. However, the court can sometimes order an equitable division if there are “just and right” reasons.
The first step in a property division case is a court inquiry which will help classify separate and community property.
Separate property includes any assets that were owned by either party prior to the marriage. Separate property can also include certain assets that were acquired during marriage such as monetary recoveries for personal injuries, inheritance, and gifts. Separate property continues to belong to each individual after marriage.
All assets acquired during the course of the marriage are usually considered community property, which means they are usually split equally upon divorce.
What is considered to be community property may be contested, which will allow you to maintain your assets as personal property. However, you will need to have clear and convincing evidence if you are to be successful.
A Houston property division attorney can guide you through the process and help you gather the documentation you need to ensure that the division of property as either separate or community is fair.
Division of Property
In Texas, property acquired during the course of a marriage is presumed to belong to spouses equally. The Judge does, however, have the power to split community property equitably, in a share that they deem to be fair.
If you believe that this is unjust, you can fight for certain property to remain separate with help from a property division lawyer. The court may consider the following factors:
- Whether one spouse becomes the primary caregiver for their children.
- Whether one spouse was at fault for the end of the marriage.
- The ages, education, and health of spouses and their earning capacities.
- The amount of separate property each spouse owns.
Locating All Assets Is Necessary For A Fair Outcome
We provide consistent attention to you and your need for information and guidance. We can help you protect, account for and accurately value both the obvious and not-so-obvious assets and debts such as:
- Your house, vehicles and any other properties you own
- Retirement accounts, pensions and investments, including shares of a business
- Mortgage debt, credit card debt, medical debt, student loans, business loans and other debts
- Special items such as pets, furniture, heirlooms, jewelry, artwork and more
- Any business holdings tied to the marriage, including family businesses (read on for more detailed information below)
Sometimes, a spouse might hide or destroy assets. Our team is thorough, and we will work hard to locate hidden property, including pulling in forensic accountants to uncover secret, stashed or offshore accounts. When warranted, we hold the other party accountable for any damage to or wasteful dissipation of marital assets.
Complex Property Division Issues
Whether you are trying to divide real estate, vehicles, or bank accounts, dividing assets can feel complicated and at times overwhelming.
Some assets are particularly difficult to divide. Tracking separate property claims, valuation methods, or the validity of appraisals can make the process feel particularly daunting.
Some assets that can be particularly challenging include:
- Self-owned businesses.
- Retirement funds.
Dividing Retirement Accounts
Retirement accounts and pension benefits that were contributed to during the course of a marriage are community property. This can be challenging to divide as you will need to assess how much of it should be considered marital property. An experienced attorney can help you divide challenging assets such as pensions and stock bonds in a way that is fair and reasonable.
Ask a Houston Property Division Lawyer: What Will Happen To The Business?
For most people, professional life is somewhat separate from personal life. For business owners, however, the distinction can blur. The personal matter of divorce could particularly have implications for the business – and vice versa.
The classification of the business is critical. If the business counts as community property, both spouses may claim a portion of the value. If the business can be proven to be separate property, the court may not consider its value when determining awards, spousal maintenance and other matters.
The division of a business in divorce depends on several factors, including:
- When the business was started
- Whether only one or both spouses started the business
- Whether the spouses share co-ownership
- The existence of a premarital agreement that determines business ownership
- Whether marital assets were used as business capital at any point
Comingling marital funds and business funds is a common reason why a spouse might have a claim in an otherwise separate property business. For example, after using a joint account to buy business-related tools, a spouse may have a reimbursement claim.
Depending on your circumstances, it may be in your best interest to prove whether the business is a community property or not.
Dividing The Value Of The Business
When both spouses are entitled to business assets, we can streamline the asset division process. You can review your options with our attorneys, which may include selling the business, liquidating its assets or keeping it intact through “buying” your share with other community property. We will advise you as to each opportunity and consequence.
Spousal Maintenance in Texas
After the division of assets, spousal maintenance is another highly contested issue that could make a big difference to your future.
Spousal support ensures that both spouses can meet “minimum reasonable needs” after the divorce. It is treated as separate from property division.
In Texas, the court will not always grant alimony. There needs to be a justification such as in cases involving domestic violence, an inability to be self-supporting due to a disability, or a marriage lasting at least 10 years whereupon the requesting spouse does not have the ability to earn a sufficient income.
Even if one of these factors applies to you and your case, the requesting spouse must still provide evidence that they are making an effort to become self-supporting.
The court determines alimony based on factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s education, how each spouse contributed to the marriage, the ability of each party to pay support, and the health of all involved.
Whether you think you should be owed alimony, or you don’t think you should have to pay it, the property division lawyers at Skillern Fim can help.
Using Ethical Strategies To Protect Your Interests
Your divorce case does not have to become a full-blown courtroom conflict. We will work to ensure that whenever possible a reasonable agreement can be met. When this is not possible, we are prepared to pursue litigation. No matter which route your case requires, we provide professionalism and integrity while prioritizing your best interests.
Frequently Asked Questions About Property Division, in Houston, TX
Q: Can we negotiate property division privately?
A: Texas law prefers parties to come to their own agreements on asset division where possible. Skillern Firm will support you to do this and help you come to an arrangement that should be approved by the court.
Houston property division lawyers are invaluable when it comes to negotiating the terms of the agreement, drafting the divorce decree, and ensuring court approval.
Q: How do I know what assets are personal or community property?
A: Firstly, you should identify what assets you owned prior to marriage. It can be tricky to evidence claims of personal and community property, but your property division lawyer can help you divide assets and help you collect the documentation you need.
Q: Does community property have to be divided equally?
A: Community property is presumed to be subject to a 50/50 split. However, you can fight to keep property separate, or receive an equitable division, as long as it is “fair and just.”
Some grounds for keeping property separate could include one spouse having primary custody of children, or a large income disparity.
Q: Does fault matter for property division?
A: Generally speaking, Texas is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce and most couples opt for ‘insupportability’ as grounds for legal separation, which does not place blame on either party.
However, there are circumstances where the fault is clear and appropriate, such as domestic abuse, or adultery. In these situations, the court may take that into consideration when dividing assets.
Q: How are debts divided?
A: Debts acquired during the marriage are divided in the same way as community property. They are presumed to be equal unless you can prove otherwise.
You should exercise caution if your name appears on a debt that your ex-spouse is required to pay. If they fail to do so it could affect your credit. It is best to seek advice from a property division attorney in Houston, Texas to help you determine how to separate any shared debts.
Protect Assets in Your Houston Divorce and Contact a Property Division Lawyer Houston Couples Trust.
When you secure representation from Skillern Firm, you ensure that you have a family law attorney who has the skills, experience, and resources necessary to protect your rights and secure a fair outcome.
Our dedication to our clients is unparalleled. We understand that most people want to move their divorce along quickly, and with as little stress as possible. This is why we prioritize mediation where possible but are always ready to stand for you in court.
Property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community property, and if you cannot come to an agreement then it will be subject to division by the court and you will lose autonomy over your assets.
The property division attorneys at Skillern Firm have the extensive experience required to protect your future. Our practice areas cover property division, child custody, divorce modification, high-asset division, and more.
Give us a call today at 936-213-8479 and arrange a phone consultation with a Houston property division lawyer who has your best interests at heart.