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Don't get left in the dark: know your property rights in divorce

Marriage involves taking care of various household responsibilities, and in most cases, duties are divided up between the spouses. For example, while you handle most of your kids' needs -- picking up from school, driving to extracurricular activities, etc. -- maybe your spouse handles financial matters -- paying bills, monitoring the bank accounts, monitoring any investments.

The problem with this scenario, however, is that you may be left in the dark with regard to financial matters -- and property division -- if you're going through a divorce.

Your financial security may be at stake. Take the right steps now to ensure that you get your fair share.

Texas is a community property state. That means most assets acquired during the course of the marriage are considered to be community property and are subject to division between the spouses.

The law also calls for a fair division of community property, but what is "fair" in a practical sense is not always fair in a legal sense. In other words, a 50/50 split is not a foregone conclusion, particularly in a contentious divorce involving high-value assets.

To ensure that your property rights are protected -- and that you get the share of community property to which you are legally entitled -- it is important to obtain a full accounting and valuation of marital assets and debts.

Complex assets to be considered may include:

  • The family home
  • Vacation or rental properties
  • Retirement plans such as 401(k)s, IRAs or pensions
  • Business assets
  • Investment holdings
  • Oil and gas rights and royalties

Depending on the size and complexity of your estate, multiple resources may be needed to uncover and value assets that your soon-to-be ex may not want you to know about.

Hiding assets from a divorce settlement is against the law, but this does happen. You need a legal advocate on your side to ensure that all community property is properly accounted for and valued, and that any separate property -- that which is not necessarily divisible in divorce -- is traceable and can be properly categorized.

Other factors that can affect property division include each spouse's earning capacity, age and health condition, as well as child custody arrangements and whether there is fault for the divorce.

Professional resources for determining these matters may include forensic accountants, vocational analysts and child custody experts, along with your lawyer.

What you don't want is to agree to a divorce settlement that threatens your future financial stability or that of your children.

For more on related matters, please see our Divorce FAQ. At The Law Office of Natalie Gregg, P.C., we advise and represent divorcing spouses in Allen, Texas, and the surrounding areas.

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The Law Office of Natalie Gregg, P.C.
1420 West Exchange Pkwy
Building C, Suite 190
Allen, TX 75013

Phone: 972-360-9727
Fax: 972-359-0912
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