Learn How Dividing Property In A Texas Divorce Fairly Can Happen

It is important to learn how dividing property in a Texas divorce fairly can happen.  What was once called “ours” splits into “his” and “hers.” While you agree not to live together, it is hard to think about what will happen to the things you worked hard to acquire. Dividing property can be a difficult tasks. But, if you and your soon-to-be ex can agree on dividing some of the most commonly contested assets, you may be able to keep more of your property.  If you want a good overview of what are the different types of property and how they are divided, check out this article on the Texas Divorce Source website.

All is fair but not equal in love and divorce

Dividing the property accumulated during marriage is where couples run into difficulty. Before a divorce is granted, all assets must be divided.  The goal must be that the division allows both parties to get what they need.

In Texas, spouses own anything owned before marriage.  In addition, they own any inheritance received during the marriage. All states have adopted rules to insure the fair distribution of property  That said, remember that a fair distribution may not always be equal.

There are factors a court will use in dividing the property.

Make a List, Check It Twice

The first course of action in a pending divorce is to make a complete list of all assets. The simplest option is for spouses to make a list together that is honest and fair. Items that must be listed should include the home or any joint property, all vehicles, bank accounts, securities, valuable collectibles, household items, and retirement plans. Joint-owned items might also include boats or other recreational vehicles.

Getting organized will help you avoid the common financial mistakes people getting a divorce make.  Read my post on what are the common mistakes and how to avoid them.

If Possible, Play Nice

Making a property list amicably avoids the parties engaging in the expensive and slow process that occurs in court.  If the parties can reach an agreement, a property division agreement is signed and a simple divorce granted.

If the parties are having problems reaching an agreement, a mediator who specializes in resolving property disputes can be hired to help reach an agreement.  Learn how a successful mediation can help take toxicity out of the negotiation.

Ninety percent of divorces settle without a trial because the parties settle their property division issues.  No trial is needed.  If possible, play nice.  You may end up with more of your property than if a judge divides it for you.

Look at my article on property types and division options.

How to Divide a House and a Car

Deciding if one party will keep the family home is often a major issue. If children are involved, judges may allow the parent with primary custody of the children stay in the home.  Normally, if one party is staying in the home, that party must buy out the other party’s equity in the home.  Additionally, the party keeping the home must get the other party released from the loan.

Vehicles are another area of dispute in many divorce proceedings. The first rule of thumb is to know the value of the vehicle. Value can be found in automotive industry Blue Books or by visiting several reputable used car dealers. Leased vehicles have little value.

Household items as well as valuable collectibles should be split in agreement between the spouses. Although the debate over who may receive a piece of antique furniture may seem volatile to the parties involved, it’s best to determine division without outside intervention.

The Hardest Splits – Retirement Benefits and Family Businesses

Retirement benefits are another source of contention in many divorces. Many working spouses believe that the ownership of retirement benefits and plans belong to the individual.  This is not true in Texas. Retirement benefits are community property and the other spouse may be entitled to some portion of payment or value. If a retirement plan is involved, it’s best to ask an attorney to include a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) document which will help determine who receives what from the plan.

Perhaps the most complicated property division issues stem from family owned businesses. The value of the business, both at present and for future profit, must be considered. Most small businesses owned jointly by spouses can be divided without dispute. Options include a buy out agreement in which one spouse buys out the portion owned by the other spouse. Payments from a co-owned business can be made over a specified period to insure that both spouses gain from any financial success. Also possible are separation clauses, in which various facets of the business are given to each spouse.

Dividing the assets in a way that suits both spouses makes for a good divorce. Agreements over property divisions can speed the divorce process and keep communication lines open.  The key to amicable division of assets lies in cooperation and willingness to be fair.

Forgettable Assets

Some assets are easy to forget.  Such assets include things like pensions, stock options from an employer, accrued sick and vacation pay, the cash value of insurance policies, frequent-flyer miles, prepaid dues, timeshare properties and vacation clubs. These assets must be addressed in a property settlement. In many cases, pensions can be worth more than houses, so make sure you have a qualified financial professional value these and other assets before you sign away your rights to them.

Credit Rating and Debt

It is imperative to protect your credit rating. Here are some tips:

  • get a copy of your credit report
  • close all accounts that you do not use
  • if you don’t already have one, apply for a credit card in your name only
  • close all joint accounts and credit cards.

A vindictive or spendthrift ex-spouse can incur debt on your joint accounts and destroy your credit rating during the divorce process.

Your credit report will help you discover any outstanding debts that need to be addressed as part of the divorce process. It may be best to pay off joint debts with property.  Paying off debt allows each party start their new life with a clean slate.

Learn How Dividing Property In A Texas Divorce Fairly Can Happen

It is important to learn how dividing property in a Texas divorce fairly can happen.  When what was once called “ours” splits into “his” and “hers,” it is easy to worry about what will happen to the things you’ve worked so hard to acquire. Dividing property can be difficult. Working together you may agree on dividing some of the most commonly contested assets.  Reaching an agreement will mean you keep more of your property. If a divorce is in your future, take the time learn how dividing property in a Texas divorce fairly can happen.

Call today for your initial no cost consultation and start to learn how dividing property in a Texas divorce fairly can happen for you.