“Property” is a broad term that has significant meaning in the realm of divorce law. When a Texas couple with significant assets chooses to end their marital union, one of the most challenging aspects of untying their lives can be determining how their wealth and assets should be divided.
Texas is a community property state, and this post does not offer legal advice or counsel on how individuals should pursue property divisions pursuant to their divorces. Individuals should talk to their own trusted attorneys for counsel that is tailored to their individual needs.
Defining “community property” in Texas
In Texas, property acquired during the marriage is typically considered to be “community property.” This generally means that such property will be equally divided upon either divorce or death. This type of property can be extensive, and can include undeveloped land, multiple residential or vacation homes, rental or investment properties, retirement and personal investments, checking and savings accounts, pensions, mutual funds and more.
However, just because Texas is a community property state does not mean that all property and assets will be split evenly among the divorcing couple. Texas also recognizes separate property, or property that was owned prior to the marriage or acquired by “gift, devise or descent” during the marriage, according to the Texas Constitution. Examples of this can include:
- Family heirlooms, like jewelry or other valuable goods
- Birthday gifts
- Personal injury awards (with some exceptions)
If the couple established a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage, this can also shape the outcome of the division of property.
Property valuation during a divorce
Before working through the complicated process of dividing marital property during a divorce, it is important that the parties know just how much value each of their assets holds. For real property, assessments may be undertaken to establish real market value for their land, homes and investments. Similar processes can be pursued for personal property to determine their actual value at the time of the divorce.
Having the right information is key for a person to emerge from a high asset divorce with a fair distribution of marital property. A knowledgeable high asset divorce attorney can help their client find the information they need to clearly identify their property and the proper valuation that should be assigned to it.