GORANSONBAIN CAN ASSIST WITH EQUITABLE PROPERTY DIVISION
Your marriage was a financial, emotional, physical and spiritual partnership. During your partnership, you and your spouse accumulated substantial assets that you now must divide equitably. This process is made more difficult by the emotional attachment you may have to certain items and the financial opportunities you may have in others. Taking an inventory of your property and assets can be a daunting task.
GoransonBain guides clients through the process of identifying, valuing and dividing marital property. With more than 20 years of experience in high-asset divorce, our Dallas divorce lawyers help you retain your rightful portion of your property from our offices.
Identifying Marital Property
Generally, the property you accumulated during your marriage belongs to both partners and property owned by one spouse prior to marriage remains with that individual. However, this rule is often not straightforward.
A spouse must prove his or her separate property with clear and convincing evidence. Separate property that is comingled with community property may be considered community property because a spouse cannot prove which portion is separate. Additionally, a marital estate may have a claim for reimbursement from another marital estate. For example, if you used your community property paycheck to renovate a home you owned before you were married or your separate property residence, the community estate may claim a right to reimbursement for a percentage of the equity in the separate property real estate.
Another common scenario involves inheritance and gifts. Gifts or inheritance received during the marriage to one spouse is that spouse’s separate property so long as it can be distinguished from community property assets.
Discovery Tools to Identify Assets
Both spouses are under a duty to fully disclose financial data to each other. Discovery is the process by which you and your spouse exchange information and documents. The discovery process may involve financial affidavits, depositions, sworn interrogatories and the subpoena of records. These tools help our divorce lawyers clearly assess your financial situation.
Assets Accumulated During a Marriage
Every couple’s portfolio is unique. In some cases, one partner may not realize the couple owned certain assets or she or he failed to recognize their full value. For this reason, our team conducts an in-depth evaluation of your marital property. We inventory such assets as:
- Real estate
- Personal Belongings
- Unique Items
- Motor Vehicles
- Retirement Accounts
- Brokerage Accounts
- Family-owned Businesses
- Interests In Business Entities
- Closely Held Corporations or Partnerships
- Intellectual Property, such as patents and copyright
Valuation of Property
After identifying what you have, our next step is to value the property. Valuation entails more than simply putting a price tag on your property. For one, we consider future value and volatility of value. Your car may be worth more than your jewelry now, but your jewelry may be likely to increase in value, whereas your car’s value will decline over time. In addition, the value of intangible property —intellectual property, book royalties, disability plans — can often be difficult to value.
We may consult with economists, actuaries, financial professionals, CPAs, accountants, appraisers, real estate agents and securities brokers to accurately value specific items. If appropriate, we obtain an expert opinion about the value of unique items, such as rare books, coin collections, antique automobiles, wines, jewelry or collectibles.
We recognize that some assets have sentimental value and we discuss ways to preserve these items during our property division strategy sessions.
Effective Strategies for Division of Assets
Our lawyers proudly service clients throughout Texas. Whether tracing the history and provenance of specific items, or conducting a fair market valuation of businesses and estates, our divorce lawyers can help identify the documentation needed to support your claims and ensure a fair and equitable division of assets and properties.
If you would like to learn more about effective strategies for division of assets or wish to ask one of our divorce lawyers a question, please call GoransonBain to schedule a consultation. You can also contact us online.