During a Texas divorce, it is certain that the issues surrounding separate property will arise. It will be necessary to determine which assets are separate property and which assets are marital property, in order to divide the assets equitably. Of course, like most issues associated with divorce, division of assets can be emotional. One spouse may feel that their separate property is not being considered as such, or that they are being forced to relinquish more of their assets than is actually fair.
At Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P. we fully understand the emotions which accompany a divorce, and we take these emotions into consideration as we help you through your divorce. At the same time, we will fight hard for your rights and your future. We will be forceful negotiators when negotiation is the best course of action for you, and we will be aggressive litigators when necessary. Whatever you need during this difficult time, we will provide the legal assistance you need. If you are going through a divorce, whether a simple divorce or a much more complex one, we can help you survive this difficult time in the very best way possible.
What is Considered Separate Property?
Any property you owned prior to your marriage is essentially considered separate property, as is any property you have acquired during the marriage by virtue of a gift or inheritance meant solely for you. An example of this would be if your parents gifted you money with the explicit instructions that the money would be placed in a separate bank account and was meant only for you. Income resulting from this gift—like interest from the money—might be considered marital property, subject to division.
Any property or other assets acquired during your marriage but bought with your sole and separate gift or inheritance also remains separate property, unless the asset is, in some way, commingled with your marital property.
Separate Property Unless…
These basic rules of separate property apply only as long as you keep the property you brought to the marriage or property you acquired during the marriage as the result of a gift or inheritance entirely in your name. If you commingle this property in any way with marital or community property, then it becomes part of your marital property. As an example, suppose you receive a sum of money from Great Aunt Hazel intended solely for your use. On its face, this money is yours, as your separate property.
However, if you put this money into your joint bank account, it has then become commingled with your marital assets, making it part of your marital property—no longer your separate property. The same goes for anything you brought into the marriage, whether in the form of property, vehicles, or money. As long as you keep those things only in your name, completely separate from your marital assets, they do not become part of the marital property. If you add your spouse’s name to your car title, property title, or bank account, you have just turned your separate property into marital property, and there is no going back.
It is important to note that during a divorce, you and your spouse are perfectly free to completely ignore the legalities of separate and marital property, making any division you see fit—so long as you are both in total agreement. As noted, if you have any doubts regarding whether your separate property will remain your separate property during your divorce, contact an experienced divorce attorney early on in the process.
Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P. Can Help You Get Through Your Divorce with the Very Best Outcome
It is often difficult to divide up assets during a divorce. Not only is the monetary value of the assets a factor, there is often emotional attachments to certain assets. Spouses have been known to dispute a certain asset for years, ending up spending more on attorney fees than the asset was worth. At the law firm of Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P., our attorneys will meet with you to determine what your immediate needs are concerning your divorce.
Whether you are amenable to collaborative law—a more peaceful way of ending a marriage—or your divorce will need to be litigated, our highly experienced attorneys can help. We always fight aggressively for our clients’ interests, informing each client of his or her rights and options. This allows you to make the most informed decisions for your future. Contact Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P. today to speak to a top family law attorney in Arlington, Texas, who can help you with all your family law needs.