Complex Property Division in Texas Divorce Cases
Legal Help with Division of Assets, Pensions, Businesses and Property
Every divorce involves the division of marital assets and debts.
If the marriage was short or the couple has few assets and even fewer debts, the process of dividing marital property can be relatively simple. The parties retain what they brought with them into the marriage and divide the debt. If emotions aren’t running high, this can be completed quickly and the couple can proceed with an uncontested divorce.
For some couples, especially those with complex estates, property division in Texas divorce cases can be much far more complicated. The Dallas-Fort Worth and McKinney divorce lawyers at Johnson, Loyd & Schmitz work with financial advisors to help us properly value assets and determine effective wealth retention strategy that minimize tax consequences.
- Retirement Accounts – A 401(k) is simple to divide; a pension is more complicated. It may require a special document, called a QDRO, in order to do it properly. If part of the pension was earned before marriage and part after – and then each part gathered interest over time – only the portion earned during the marriage need be divided. Your divorce attorneywill work with a financial expert to iron out the details.
- Military Pensions – The Uniform Services Former Spouses Protection Act allows divorcing couples to divide a military pension using one of four different methods: a coverture fraction formula, a specific dollar amount, a current percentage and a deferred percentage. The method chosen can have a significant affect on the amount of money a spouse can receive. Your lawyer will explain the impact of the choices available to you.
- Real Estate – There are a number of things to consider when dividing real estate (a home, vacation home, piece of land or business property). Did one partner own it before the marriage? Did it become marital property after the marriage or can a case be made that it stayed separate property? What is the true value of the property today? Your divorce lawyer may consult with a real estate expert to ensure an accurate valuation.
- Valuable Personal Property – In general, each party keeps his/her own personal property but a case can be made that if a particular piece of property has been used by the couple, it may have been converted to a “marital” asset rather than an individual asset. When you come in to meet with your lawyer, be sure to catalog any property that you have questions about.
Divorce and a Texas Business
It surprises many small business owners to discover that a business started while one is married is considered community property even if other partner hasn’t been active in managing the business. This applies to business partnerships as well. While the spouse may not have a direct equity interest, he or she is entitled to half of the spouse’s equity interest.
In the case of a divorce involving a business, the decisions that need to be made involve:
- Properly valuing the business, which will require a business valuation expert
- Deciding whether both parties will retain their interest (operate it together or continue a financial interest) or whether the business will stay with only one partner
- Deciding whether to buy out one spouse’s interest or continue forward with each spouse having a defined financial interest.
If the parties come to our firm with an agreement already in mind, we will review your proposed agreement to determine if all assets have been properly valued and all issues properly considered. If we believe something has been overlooked, we’ll advise you how you can handle that issue and we’ll connect you to a financial expert who specializes in that issue.
In complex property division cases, you’ll find peace of mind working with the divorce attorneys at Johnson, Loyd & Schmitz. We’re ready to tackle complex cases and come prepared with the resources you need to make sure the task is done right. Call our law office to schedule a consultation at the office nearest to you (Dallas-Ft Worth, McKinney, TX, or Atlanta): 817-576-6537.