Fort Worth property division lawyers help clients with divorces in Fort Worth and Dallas involving high net worth property divisions. In a Texas divorce the two main issues are child custody and property division. Property division in a Fort Worth divorce involves dividing the assets in the divorce and confirming liability for debts. Property division may range from a simple agreed or uncontested divorce to complex litigation. The challenge with property division in a Tarrant County divorce is not just dividing property for what exists today. Dividing property in a Fort Worth divorce must be forward thinking to how it will affect your future financial wealth.
Dividing property in a Fort Worth, Texas divorce
The Texas Family Code, along with other Texas statutes, determine the way a court may divide property in a divorce. Texas follows community property rules which give shared property interests in most property accumulated during the marriage. Dividing property in a Tarrant County divorce is not as easy as cutting everything in half for several reasons including:
- Property may have a mixed community property and separate property status.
- Property may have been converted into different assets or exhausted during the marriage and must be traced back to its inception. (E.g. money earned as wages spent to buy a car which was later sold and partially used to pay home bills and partially used to buy a new car.)
- It may be in a form that is not easily liquidated such as illiquid financial instruments.
- Property may have debts attached to it that cannot be easily removed or divided. (E.g. a home with a mortgage.)
- Property may be in a form that has little current value but a larger future expected value or income stream. (For example, a business owned by the spouses.)
- Assets may have been purchased with debt financing and sorting out payment of the debt is difficult.
- Assets require special tools, like a QDRO, to divide the property.
Dividing debts in a Tarrant County divorce
In addition to dividing assets, the spouses also must sort out the marital debts. Marital debts may include lines of credit, like a credit card, or attached to specific property, like a mortgage. Dividing debts is often more difficult than dividing assets. Although the divorce may require indemnification or payment of debts between the spouses, the family courts cannot make money appear. Importantly, the Texas Family Code does not allow the court to reassign the creditor’s rights to debts. A creditor is free to pursue payment and other remedies from any liable party on a debt.
For example, if the husband took out a credit card and spent $50,000 on a new boat to float Tarrant County lakes then the credit card company can pursue the husband for the debt. It cannot pursue the wife (generally) for the debt even if the divorce decree orders the wife to pay for half of the credit card debt. The husband and creditor have a contractual relationship for the debt.
Debts issues become even more complicated when both parties signed as liable for the debts or where property that needs division guarantees a shared debt. These issues can sometimes seem simple today but after the divorce can turn into a financial disaster.
How a Fort Worth property division lawyer can help
A Fort Worth property division lawyer can help both with the process to divide property in a Fort Worth divorce and to review the division to ensure it is fair and productive. Even in uncontested divorces an agreement to divide property may be imbalanced or unintentionally bring financial disaster to one or both parties. Dividing assets and debts in the divorce is a major part of that process.
Fort Worth property division attorneys work with clients to develop a property division plan to protect valuable assets and ensure a fair division of debts. With a background in the financial industry he understands financial instruments and retirement plan assets like 401ks and pensions.