Understanding complex asset division in Texas divorces

There's a common saying that more money means more problems. That is definitely the case in divorces. The more assets you have and the higher the overall value of your marital estate, the more complicated and protracted the asset division process can become.

Many people don't really understand the basic rules and laws guiding asset division, which can result in unrealistic expectations for the outcome of the divorce. Unless you agree on terms of your divorce or have a prenuptial agreement in place, Texas family courts will decide all major factors.

Texas pushes for equitable distribution

In general, Texas courts strive for equitable distribution in a divorce. Equitable does not always mean equal. The courts will consider many factors, including standard of living, custody of any minor children, earning potential for both spouses, mitigating factors like abuse or affairs and even if one spouse previously wasted community assets via substance abuse, gambling or while wooing an extramarital partner.

Understanding the general process can help you better anticipate the potential outcome of asset division in your divorce. The courts want to ensure that neither spouse is left unable to support oneself but also want to ensure that the division of assets is fair to both parties. It can be a very complex process.

The courts need a comprehensive list of assets

In order to determine how to fairly divide assets, the courts need to look over all the possessions acquired during your marriage. Everything from equity in your home to your vacation house and retirement accounts should get figured into the report. Some assets, like fine art or investment properties, can be hard to place a value on. In these situations, you may need outside professionals to evaluate and price your assets to ensure a fair division.

You may also need the help of a forensic accountant if you have any reason to believe that your spouse may have hidden assets. These financial professionals can track down hidden bank accounts and even determine how much was spent on a difficult-to-price collectible asset.

The value of assets will help determine the split

Once you have fair prices associated with each of your assets, the courts can see how much you own and how much everything is worth. From there, it is relatively simple to ensure that each spouse receives a fair and reasonable portion of marital assets. Higher value assets could be split or sold. In some cases, one spouse may retain the primary home, while the other receives a portion of the equity. In other cases, the courts could order that you sell the home and split the proceeds.

When it comes to a high-asset divorce, you shouldn't take anything for granted. You need to be careful about verifying the nature and value of assets and prepare to assert yourself in court to ensure that the division process is as fair as possible.

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