People tend to oversimplify divorce, especially when it comes to property division.
Texas is a community property state, which means that property acquired during the marriage is presumed to belong to the community, or the couple. Upon divorce, each person is generally entitled to half the property. However, assuming you will simply divide assets in half and go your separate ways can be a mistake. There are issues that can complicate the process.
Classifying community and separate property
One common complication involves determining whether property is eligible for division in the first place. Texas law identifies two types of property for the purposes of divorce: separate property and community property.
Generally, separate property is not eligible for division. However, parties can disagree on property classification for several reasons:
- Separate property ,ay have been utilized to purchase property during the marriage
- An asset may have elements of both separate and community property;
- You may be unsure of whether you acquired property before or during the marriage.
Valuation and division
It may be easy enough to determine how much is in a savings account and then give half to each party. However, property is not always so easy to value or divide.
For instance, spouses may accuse each other of assigning a lower value or inflating the value of an asset to tip the balance of distributed property in their favor.
Additionally, dividing property is not always easy or possible. For instance, you cannot cut a marital home or family business in half. In these situations, more advanced solutions may be necessary.
Being unable to reach an agreement
If you and your soon-to-be ex can reach agreements on how to divide your property outside of court, you may secure a resolution faster and maintain more control over the outcome. However, if you cannot agree, the cost of litigation will increase when you have to hire experts to appraise or value the disputed property. Often times the spouses hire competing experts doubling the fees. After the reports are ready if you still cannot agree then the matter will go to a judge at final trial. He or she will consider the information you present and make a decision deemed just and right. This process can be contentious and lengthier, and you may not agree with the decision.
Considering the various complications that can arise when dividing property in any Texas divorce, parties should avoid oversimplifying the process, as doing so could lead to costly missteps and avoidable delays. Parties should always consult with an attorney, to determine what laws will be applied to their situation and to ensure that their interests are protected.