Property Division Lawyer in Houston, Helping Our Clients Reach an Equitable Solution
No one anticipates divorce proceedings when they get married. Unfortunately, we know this is a common outcome for many marriages. Even worse, divorce laws can make the process more difficult than necessary. One of the biggest areas of contention during these proceedings relates to property division. Once a divorce is finalized, all assets and debts will need to be divided between the former spouses. This can sometimes be a difficult endeavor — often turning contentious — and can even lead to costly court battles. With a property division lawyer in Houston on your side, however, you may be able to simplify the process.
At Von Dohlen Law Firm, simplifying family law issues for our clients is what we do. We understand that dividing marital property can seem daunting — particularly if you don’t know what qualifies as community property and separate property. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only complex issue that can arise regarding property during your divorce case. This is why we always recommend at least sitting down for legal a consultation prior to making any major decisions. Contact us today at Von Dohlen Law Firm to speak with a Houston family law attorney who’s ready to help.
Community Property vs Equitable Distribution
In order to understand how property acquired during a marriage is divided during divorce, it’s important to recognize the difference between community property and equitable distribution. Community property is a method of distribution where all assets between a couple are considered marital property or separate property. Marital property includes assets acquired during the marriage, and separate property includes properties held before marriage, received as gifts, accrued after separation, and assets acquired through a few other methods. Marital property is divided equally between the parties in question.
In an equitable distribution state, properties are divided equitably rather than equally. This means one spouse could get a larger portion of the metaphorical pie during the divorce. In essence, you could face a disproportionate division of your assets. If you’re seeking out property division lawyers in Texas, however, you likely don’t need to worry about equitable distribution. That’s because Texas is a community property state. This means asset division will start by identifying separate and marital property. Unfortunately, there may be disagreements over what qualifies for division.
What Is Considered Community Property?
Some of the biggest issues that arise during a divorce relate to what qualifies as community property. This is an important matter you’ll discuss with your family lawyer during an initial consultation, but it’s important to have a basic understanding from the start so you know what to expect. The marital estate includes any assets that are acquired during the marriage. This is true even if a certain property is only in the name of one spouse. Assets can include retirement accounts, real estate, investments, and other properties. Community debts are also divided.
What Is Considered Separate Property?
Typically, any properties received before or after a marriage will not be divided. Inheritance, gifts, and personal injury settlements typically qualify as separate property as well. When the time comes to divide assets, however, troubles can arise if there was a comingling of properties. If it’s impossible to determine whether an asset is community or separate, it will be considered the former. Separate property can also be converted to community property during a marriage if the spouses agree to it.
How Do Courts Handle Property Division in Texas?
Property division is handled in the Final Decree of Divorce. Any community property subject to division will be listed. The judge will dictate who receives which assets. They’ll also include separate property claims belonging to each spouse that are not eligible for division. The decree will also have the debts divided and specify who will hang on to retirement benefits. It’s possible that the judge could decide that certain properties should be sold so they can be divided in an easier manner. However, issues could arise if personal property was used to purchase an asset that’s now part of the community estate.
In such a situation, the owner of the personal property may be eligible for a reimbursement claim. For instance, imagine that a shared bank account is used to pay the mortgage of a home that was owned by the husband before marriage. In such a situation, the husband could seek reimbursement to the community estate. This is not something that can be done, however, after the divorce is final. This is one of the many reasons — in addition to understanding tax consequences, income disparity, and the many factors affecting distribution — you should seek out a property division lawyer.
The easiest outcome would occur if both former partners agreed to work together. Unfortunately, this will become difficult if there are major disagreements or one spouse has hidden assets. Still, you can protect your interests by speaking with a family law attorney in Houston. They can help you understand your individual case and how to get a fair outcome in a timely manner. Property division attorneys can help if you’re willing to consult with one. Contact Von Dohlen Law Firm today to learn all the ways we can help.
Contact a Property Division Lawyer in Houston Today
Texas is a community property state, and that simplifies many issues during divorce proceedings. Unfortunately, it can also raise complex property division issues regarding the marital estate and other assets. While you can let Texas courts make these decisions for you, it’s often preferable to work with your former partner to reach an equitable solution. A family law attorney could potentially help mediate this process so everyone is satisfied to the extent possible in such a situation. And if you can’t reach a property division agreement, you’ll benefit greatly from having an attorney-client relationship.
At Von Dohlen Law Firm, we want the best outcome for our clients. Sometimes this means working with both spouses to figure out what’s considered marital property. In other instances, it could mean dividing such property equitably. And in still other circumstances, it could mean arguing your case in front of a judge. Our law firm will strive to make this process as simple as possible for you and fight to ensure you get a fair outcome. Contact us today by calling (713) 443-6730 to schedule a consultation. Our property division lawyer in Houston is ready to help you figure out the best path forward.