Property Division Attorney Serving Denton, Lewisville, Sanger, Ponder, Carrollton, Corinth, Frisco, Flower Mound, Aubrey, Oak Point, Pilot Point, Little Elm, Lake Dallas, and The Colony, Texas.
Along with child custody, visitation, and support rights, property division is usually the last major issue in a divorce. Ms. Parker has substantial experience as both an advocate and a mediator in cases involving property division, whether the parties are disputing over the division of a house or a multi-million dollar community estate. In Texas, the client will face the characterization issues of "community property" or "separate property."
Texas “Community Property” Rules
Under the Texas “community property” rule, with certain exceptions, any assets accumulated during the parties' marriage are subject to a just and right division when the parties divorce. Just and right division does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. The division of property includes division of cash, financial accounts, real property, stock options, vehicles, retirement benefits, and any other property that comes into the marriage as a result of the labor of either spouse. Assets owned prior to the marriage are considered "separate property" and cannot be divided; it can only be confirmed. All property in a Texas divorce is considered community property unless proven to be separate property. The burden of proving separate property is on the party asserting that separate property right.
The starting point for community property division in Texas is an equal split between the parties, although determining who gets what percentage will pose a challenge in some cases, requiring the services of a forensic accountant. Additionally, the existence of certain assets may warrant an unequal division of assets, such as:
- The amount of gifts and inheritances received by one spouse
- Funds obtained by a spouse in a settlement or judgment
- Intrinsic value of separate property that requires tracing
In addition, fault in the marriage (e.g., adultery, cruelty, abuse, etc. ), intrinsic or extrinsic fraud, wasting of community assets may also justify a disproportionate division of the community estate. Hence, we go back to the statement that a just and right division of the community estate is not necessarily a 50/50 split.
These are broad outlines of property division in Texas; they do not include issues of division of retirement accounts, types of retirement accounts, how to determine what part of a retirement account is community property or separate property, or how to trace an account to determine it's separate property value,
Amicable Property Divisions
Parties amenable to settling their property division through negotiations are able to do so without substantial court involvement. However, even if the parties are able to agree on all aspects of the property division, they still need to appear in court court to obtain court's approval and signature on the Final Decree of Divorce.
When negotiating an amicable property division, always hire an attorney to represent you. The biggest mistake you can make is entering into a divorce agreement with your spouse without having an attorney to review and provide advice about the property division. Ms. Parker has seen many poorly written divorce decrees that have deprived a spouse of their property rights, and by the time the spouse comes to Ms. Parker for help, the statute of limitations has passed; the spouse is then precluded from pursuing a motion to divide undivided property. Another common problem with a poorly drafted divorce decree is whether that decree is specific enough to be enforceable. An ambiguous court order leaves much room for interpretation which leads to disputes between the parties. The law forbids the Court from modifying the terms of divorce decree involving property division; all that the Court can do after a decree has been rendered is to clarify or enforce the terms. For these reasons, you need an attorney on your side to help you negotiate property division and ensure that the order is not ambiguous will be enforceable in the future.
Contested Property Divisions
When the parties are unable to agree on all aspects of their property division, they will need to seek court or other third-party intervention in order to reach a resolution. In many cases, mediation is preferable to a lengthy court battle, and judges do not like to divide pots and pans, or in some cases ashtrays and doilies. If there is a dispute over property division, the courts in Denton County require the parties to attend mediation in good faith prior to resorting to litigation. At Helene Parker & Associates, L.L.C., we are experienced, thorough, and effective advocates for our clients, and we will work closely with you to ensure that you get the just and right division you deserve.
Mediation for Contested Property Divisions in Texas
Denton County attorney, Helene Parker, is also an experienced, strong, and credentialed family law mediator. Read more about Ms. Parker's mediation services.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Denton County Property Division Attorney
To seek legal advice with regard to your Texas divorce or property division, or to hire Helene Parker to mediate your Texas property division dispute, contact us today. We serve clients in Denton, Corinth, Little Elm, Sanger, Ponder, Cross Roads, Pilot Point, Oak Point, Frisco, Aubrey, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, The Colony, and surrounding areas.