Splitting Assets In A Divorce
Along with the vitriol, quite often involved in parents disagreeing over the custody of their children, the division of community assets and debt can be equally contentious. Texas law uses “equitable distribution” when dividing assets, which aims to split any marital assets equally between the two parties. Making sure you are getting your fair share, however, may require some effort.
Izzo & Associates, PLLC, is especially well equipped to aid our clients in locating, identifying, and valuing these assets and debts and developing the strategy necessary to negotiate their division. John Izzo’s experience as the managing director of an investment banking firm and his role in developing an early form of business valuation software serve our clients well. When you need an Austin property division lawyer with an exceptional understanding of high-value assets, you should turn to our firm.
How We Can Help
While some of our clients come to us with an existing premarital or postnuptial agreement that mitigates the impact such concerns can have on divorce, most people have this burden to contend with in litigation. Assets that are acquired during your marriage, as well as debts incurred during your marriage, are subject to an equitable division in Texas.
Izzo & Associates, PLLC, has established key contacts with real property, financial accounting, and business evaluators that can aid in this process. The key role that our Austin property division lawyer can play in determining what assets and debts exist and exactly which of these are actually divisible under Texas law, depending on the size of your marital estate, involves two components:
- Your law firm must be adept at sending out proper discovery requests, whether they be personally to the opposing party and/or to gather information from other principals or entities, such as business records requests.
- As part of your specific case strategy, it is always best to work at settling all property issues to hopefully keep you out of court while standing ready to litigate key issues to preserve your most valued assets.
You can rest easy knowing that your property division attorney in Austin is doing everything possible to help you through your divorce.
How Does A Divorce Split Assets?
Remember, both assets and debts are divided in a divorce since Texas is a community property state. This means that all of the assets and debts accumulated during your marriage are subject to an equitable division by the court. Depending on your case facts, “Equitable” may not mean a 50/50 split.
Other exceptions to this general rule are a premarital agreement or items determined to be sole and separate property. Always ask your Austin property division lawyer how property items are characterized and how a local court might likely divide your assets and debts based on the facts of your case. It is also important to note that if you and your spouse agree, you may divide existing assets and debts in any manner you choose.
Who Gets The House In A Texas Divorce?
Because Texas is a community property state, real estate acquired after marriage belongs equally to both spouses, even if only one spouse’s name is on the title. That means you and your spouse generally have to agree on what will happen to the house.
Sometimes that means selling the house and dividing the proceeds. This is a popular option because it allows both parties to take what they have invested and move on. In other cases, one spouse may want to remain in the home. If this is true, they will usually need to “buy out” the other spouse’s share of the home’s equity.
If one spouse owned the home before marriage, the issue can get more complicated. If marital funds were used to make mortgage payments, pay for maintenance on the property or effect renovations, then the non-owner spouse will have gained an interest in the property.
How Are 401(k)s And Other Retirement Accounts Divided?
If a 401(k) or other retirement fund was contributed to during the marriage, those contributions are marital assets. Like all marital assets in a community property state, those must be divided equally.
However, any part of a retirement account that was owned before you married is treated differently. That is your separate property, and not subject to division. Your Austin property division lawyer can help you better determine what that means for you after a careful review of your unique situation.
Different Types Of Assets
There are four assets considered to be sole and separate in Texas. Based on how and when you acquired an asset, it will qualify as:
- Anything that an individual comes into a marriage with;
- Anything gifted to a spouse before or during the marriage;
- Anything inherited by a spouse before or during the marriage;
- If a spouse receives an award from an accident or injury settlement that was awarded specifically as their sole and separate property.
It should be noted that the Texas Family Code and case law from Texas appellate decisions govern property divisions. You should always ask your property division attorney in Austin about your specific facts.
Unequal Division Of Assets
Your family law attorney’s case strategy will be critical in this event. Texas law allows for a disproportionate share of assets to be awarded. The court can consider a long list of factors in making such a disproportionate disposition of your community estate, including:
- Fault by one spouse in the break-up of the marriage
- Waste of community estates by one spouse
- The benefits the innocent party would have received from the continuation of the marriage
- The disparity in earning power, the spouses’ respective capacities
- The nature of the property involved in the division
If you would like additional information about protecting your assets in a divorce, we can help.
Gathering Necessary Information
Discovery is a necessary legal tool that we can utilize to glean evidence needed to advance or complete our client’s cases involves conducting various forms of discovery. Our attorneys are adept at developing and sending out discovery requests, including:
- Requests for the production of documents
- Subpoenas for information from third parties
- Interrogatories (written questions)
- Depositions (questioning the opposing party in front of a court reporter under oath)
- Business or medical record affidavits
- Developing and sending out Requests for Admissions (requiring the opposing party to admit or deny specific facts for the record)
In the appropriate circumstance, conducting discovery can assist our clients in locating assets and debts and collecting proof of fault or fraud, for example. It should be noted that unless the above tools are necessary for your case, we can conserve time and costs for our clients to accomplish a divorce that can be settled by other means.
Let Us Help You Keep What Is Yours
If you want to be sure you are not leaving anything on the table in your divorce, contact us. Call us at 512-982-1161 or email us here. We are ready to fight for your best interests while pursuing the outcome you deserve in your case.