Dividing marital property can be the most complicated, contentious step in a divorce. There is often property ownership and financial security on the line, and getting a fair settlement can be the top priority for one or both parties.
Dividing marital estates of any size can be complicated, but those that involve the following types of property can be especially thorny.
- Business assets and income: If one or both parties own a business, it can be subject to division during divorce. First, you must determine whether the company belongs to the community (the married couple) or is a separate asset. The same goes for any income generated during the marriage. If parties own the business together, you must decide if you plan to co-own it after divorce or if one will buy the other out. These decisions can affect the divorcing spouses, business partners, employees and others involved in the enterprise.
- Collections: Whether it is ceramic angels or baseball cards, part of the problem with dividing collections is that there is often value in keeping them together. Separating individual components can dramatically affect the overall price. Further, it can be difficult to determine valuations without the help of professionals. Even then, there can be conflicting opinions.
- Digital property: Whether you realize it or not, you may have substantial digital property. Consider things like cryptocurrency, website and domain ownership, virtual property and in-game purchases, monetized social media accounts, as well as music, movie and photo libraries. These intangible assets can be challenging to separate and assign value to, which can complicate division.
- Pets: Pets are property in the eyes of the law. But while many courts can appreciate the fact that an animal is much more like a family member than an appliance, there is no guarantee that individual judges will consider factors like a pet’s best interests or owner capabilities when determining who gets a pet. As such, pet owners would be wise to address pet custody and related issues themselves outside of court.
While it could be preferable to resolve all property-related matters outside of court, as can be common when it comes to pets, the fact is this is not always possible. When you are dealing with elements like complex ownership structures and varying valuations, going to court to divide property in Texas may be unavoidable.
However, with legal guidance and the help of experienced financial professionals, parties can divide their assets properly and fairly.