The fact that divorce is common now does not make it any easier to cope with the logistics of separating a family and dividing a couple’s assets. If you are dealing with the physical, emotional, and financial challenges of divorce, it is important to have a family law attorney at your side to guide you through the legal maze that leads to a divorce decree and to make sure that you are treated fairly in the final agreement.
Even the most amicable couples can get into trouble when it comes to the particulars of divvying up possessions that have financial and familial value. The Youngberg Law Firm, located in Corinth, Texas, represents clients throughout the area with well-honed skills as well as compassion. The founder of the practice, Michael Youngberg is sharp, intuitive, and concerned with helping you and your family go through the divorce process as painlessly as possible.
Texas is a Community Property State
Many people misunderstand that being a community property state does not mean that marital property is sliced evenly in half; it means rather that there will be a “just and right” division of assets and debts. In other words, community property is based on the principle of fairness, not precise 50-50 distribution.
Community Property/Marital Assets
In order to divide community property fairly, it is necessary to determine which assets are marital assets. In Texas, marital property, property owned by both spouses, includes:
- Income earned by either spouse during the marriage
- Objects bought with shared income
- Houses, other structures or properties purchased after the marriage
- Cash, stocks, and bonds
- Vehicles purchased during the marriage
- Gifts given by either spouse to the other during the marriage
- Furnishings, jewelry, art, antiques, gems, collectibles
- Retirement or pension plans of either spouse
- Businesses or professional practices
- Tax shelter investments
When you come to the Youngberg Law Firm to work on property division of marital assets, we will clarify for you the sometimes blurred distinctions between marital and individual assets.
Even though marriage joins the members legally, each individual who enters into such a contract may be considered to own some property individually and that property need not be shared with his/her spouse upon the dissolution of the marriage. Individually owned property includes:
- Property owned by one spouse before the marriage
- Property given to just one spouse before or during the marriage
- Property inherited by just one spouse
- Damages received by one spouse for personal injuries
It should be noted that once property is commingled, for instance, placed in a joint bank account, from that point on it may not be easy to determine what property belongs to which person.
Debts, like assets, can be marital or separate. An example of a marital debt is a mortgage, even if the title to the home is in one spouse’s name. Similarly, credit card debt is generally considered marital debt, even if one spouse ran up most of the bills. Nevertheless, if one spouse has used a credit card to purchase personal luxury items, rather than items that will benefit the couple or the family, the court may not divide the debt evenly between the former partners.
Premarital debts are considered the responsibility of the spouse who accumulated them before the marriage. This includes educational loans. It should be remembered, though, that a creditor to whom your spouse owes money may come after marital assets in an effort to be reimbursed. Texas courts may also take into account the particulars of debts that have arisen due to one partner’s behavior, such as obsessive shopping or addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling.
Circumstances that Make Property Division More Complex
While it is always essential to work with a competent property division attorney when going through a divorce, certain situations make property division even more taxing. Generally speaking, large estates make property division more confusing, and, of course, in high-end divorces, the stakes are very high. If you are dealing with any of the following, you will be particularly glad to have the excellent legal representation of the Youngberg Law Firm:
- Family businesses
- Farms, ranches or livestock
- Investment properties
- Large investment portfolio
- More than one home
- Multiple retirement accounts and pensions
- Oil, Gas and other mineral interests
- Overseas investments and assets
- Professional practice or partnerships
- Royalties and dividends
- Separate property inheritances
Contact Our Denton County Property Division Lawyer
Obviously, the greatest complication to property division is a contentious divorce in which rage, frustration and/or desire for revenge make negotiations much more difficult. Fortunately for you, Mike Youngberg is a talented negotiator, assertive but diplomatic. His unique skills will provide you with the best possible legal representation so that you will come away with a property division agreement that is reasonable and just. Contact us for a consultation.