The majority of marriages have one thing in common – assets. Whether the couple merely owns a small passenger car or they have a multi-billion dollar estate, the divorce process will include a division of assets. Fairly dividing assets may seem like it should be a cut-and-dry process. The truth is, many divorces end up with quite complicated asset situations. This requires in-depth research and the allocation is not always 50/50.
In fact, some assets will remain the sole property of only one of the marital partners. Others will be divided. Because the division of assets is often complicated, it is crucial to have an experienced Texas division of assets attorney to help you fight for a fair allocated of your property. The final determination of what each divorcee will end up with once the marriage is dissolved. When two people divorce, debts are treated similarly to assets. Most of the debt that the couple has incurred during the marriage will be split evenly when the marriage is dissolved. However, there are certain debts that may remain exclusively to one marriage partner or the other.
Debts and assets that are acquired while the couple is married are defined as marital or “community property.” The debts or assets can be acquired by one or both parties, but inheritance or gifts to one spouse are not counted. Texas does not have a standard mathematical formula to calculate the division of assets and division of debts. The court will calculate what it deems as a fair distribution based on the factors stipulated in the Texas division of property statutes.
Any debts or assets that either spouse had before they were officially married typically remain the property or debt of that same spouse at the dissolution of the marriage. Inheritances and gifts fall under this category, as well, remaining with the same spouse they were given to, even when the marriage is dissolved. This usually includes any gifts either spouse has given to the other.
When a spouse uses assets or incurs debts while the marriage is still in effect because they feel the marriage beginning to unravel, this is referred to as dissipation. Typically, a spouse that is found to have caused dissipation is often required to pay the marital estate back for anything that they sold or pay off any debts they incurred. Unfortunately, dissipation is not the easiest thing to prove. If there is no proof of certain property that was sold, it may be difficult to show that it was dissipated.
As with other assets, if real estate or business property is owned prior to a marriage, the spouse who owned it typically has the right to it when the marriage dissolves. However, it is acquired by one of the spouses during the marriage, it is typically treated as marital property and generally will be divided at the dissolution of the marriage.
This may cause trouble if a spouse has established their own business during the marriage. Under the Texas division of assets laws, even if that business was established by only one spouse, both spouses have legal rights to it because it was established during the marriage. Most people do not consider that they should consult with a lawyer while they are married to ensure that the real estate or businesses that they acquire during the marriage are legally protected from their spouse, but find out the hard way when they decide to divorce that their real estate or property can be divided and taken away from them.
If you are fighting to protect your assets in a divorce, you should hire a Texas division of assets attorney who knows the Texas laws inside and out and knows how to best protect your property.
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