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Experience counts in complex property division matters

More people than ever are now choosing to tie the knot later in life, perhaps postponing this momentous decision until they have completed their education, reached some sort of career milestone or just felt psychologically ready to settle down.

Whatever the reasons, this explosion in the number of couples getting married at later ages means 1) more people are entering their marriages with more assets, and 2) more assets are being accumulated during the course of marriage due to higher earning capacities. 

As encouraging as this reality is for these couples, it's nevertheless important for them to understand that it can quickly make things very complicated in the event of a divorce. In particular, it can serve to make things complicated as far as the division of property is concerned.

Why is this the case?

As we've discussed before, Texas is one of only nine community property states. What this means is that in a divorce, anything identified as marital property -- i.e., property acquired during the course of the marriage -- is essentially split 50-50, while anything identified as separate property -- i.e., property acquired before the marriage -- is not subject to division.

While this sounds easy enough in theory, the reality is that a phenomenon known as characterization frequently comes into play. This means that questions and concerns often arise as to whether property in question -- or at least some portion of it -- should be classified as either marital or separate property.

Characterization issues frequently arise in the context of the following:

  • Marital expenditures made to improve real estate owned by one spouse prior to the marriage.
  • Contributions and improvements made by one spouse to a family-owned business.
  • Gains accrued during the marriage on investment accounts owned by one person prior to the marriage.

At the Law Offices of Wendy Wood, we have extensive experience handling characterization issues, meaning we know what it takes to find the information needed to disprove a soon-to-be former spouse's claim that certain assets are community or separate property.

Rest assured, we will always go the extra mile to protect your rights and, if possible, help you secure a larger portion of the marital estate.

To learn more about how we can help with this and other asset protection matters, please visit our website.

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