Aside from the personal aspects, one of the most stressful and time-consuming elements of undergoing a divorce or separation in the state of Texas is the division of marital property. This can be a complex process, which benefits from guidance from a professional San Antonio divorce lawyer with experience in cases of family law, as well as the valuation and division of property acquired during the marriage.
A skilled divorce attorney will be familiar with state practices and laws concerning complex property division, which can be used to guide you through the process with your best interests in mind.
Individual and Joint Assets
The property owned by a couple does not only refer to any real estate, such as the family home, but also to their personal and joint assets. This can include businesses, other real estates such as any vacation properties or second homes, vehicles, jewelry, antiques or collectibles of worth, as well as livestock or oil investments and leases. All financial assets from bank accounts, pensions, stock investments and insurance will also be taken into account.
If you and your former partner can agree on the best way to divide your assets between you on your own terms – with some guidance from a family law attorney – this will save you a lot of time, money and stress. However, if you and your ex-spouse are unable to reach a fair agreement between the two of you, you will be required to take the case to court, who will then decide how to divide your property for you.
A family law attorney can help to identify how much each party is worth based on earnings and the amount of assets they receive. The least financially independent party – those with the least amount of assets or income – is entitled to spousal support from the other parts. Spousal support is often referred to as spousal maintenance or alimony.
To be entitled to spousal support, the party with the least financial assets must meet certain criteria to qualify. Spousal support is only given in San Antonio if the party with the least financial assets is unable to reasonably provide for themselves in order to meet their legal everyday needs. Spousal support can also be awarded if one party is unable to earn a sufficient income due to an incapacity, such as a physical or mental illness.
Spousal support is granted on a temporary basis, often depending on the length of the marriage. This can be for a period of five, seven or ten years, and will be decided by the court. In rare circumstances, this period can be extended. It should be noted that Texas law has recently extended the length of time spousal support can be received.
Division of Businesses
If one or both parties own a business or company, the value of the business must be determined to ensure each individual receives a fair amount when separating their assets. A business that was started during the marriage will be considered communal property, meaning one party will often be required to buy out the other.
If a business was founded before the time of the marriage, it would be regarded as an individual’s separate property. Even if a business if categorized as individual property, the income earned during the time of the marriage must be equally divided.
A business can be awarded to either of the parties or may be sold, and the profit made by the sale split evenly between both sides. In the majority of cases, the court will often try to avoid keeping both parties involved in a divorce together in business.
A divorce lawyer will also help you to enforce the terms set out within a prenuptial agreement if you and your ex-partner entered into one before you were married. This can include the division of property, settlements or the protection of individual assets made before or during the marriage.
Your divorce attorney will aim to protect your assets during your separation, whether or not you have a legally binding premarital agreement. A court will ensure that the terms of your agreement are honored fairly, regardless of any assets gained or lost during the time of the marriage, by either party. Discuss the conditions of your pre-nuptial agreement with your divorce lawyer before your case goes to court.