If you are facing a Texas divorce, one of the most critical components that you will need to address – after child custody arrangements – is what the court terms the just and right division of your marital property. The fact is that this division of property will likely affect you and your children’s financial futures for many years to come, and it is, therefore, critical that your marital assets be divided justly. While some divorcing couples have marital property that is fairly straightforward and, thus, relatively easy to divide, others have far more complex marital properties that add an extra layer of complication to the process. If your divorce involves complex properties, consult with an experienced Houston divorce attorney today.
What Constitutes Complex Properties
Complex property typically refers to properties and other assets that are difficult to put a dollar value on for a variety of different reasons. Such properties can include things like a family business, interest in a closely held business, professional licensure and professional practice, real estate, family heirlooms, and more. For instance, if you and your spouse own a business together and you both derive your incomes from that business, there is usually more involved than just the value of the business (which is likely to be complicated enough on its own).
Additionally, complex properties provide a lot more wiggle room for fiddling with numbers and even for hiding assets in plain sight. Complex properties typically require more serious investigative tools and more comprehensive negotiations than do more typical divisions of marital property.
Complex Properties and Divorce Court
If your divorce involves complex properties, you may have resigned yourself to battling things out in court, but this isn’t necessarily the case. When you take your case to court, the judge is charged with determining the just and right division of your marital properties, but he or she has considerable discretion in the process. This means that the judge in your case will be making important decisions regarding your financial future. Most couples find that it becomes easier to negotiate with one another once they realize that the alternative is for the judge to make their financial decisions for them.
When it comes to complex properties, they are just that – complex – which makes them difficult to value (often, this is true even when you obtain a professional forensic valuation). The fact is that you and your spouse probably have a better feel for what a specific property is worth to each of you than anyone else ever could. This is why negotiating with each other – rather than through the court – might be in both of your best interests. It’s important to recognize, however, that some property divisions are so cumbersome and/or so contentious that going to court is nearly inevitable.
When divorcing couples have significant assets, it is far more likely that they will also have complex properties involved. The nature of amassing wealth is that the origins of that wealth tend to become more entangled and opaque with time. This makes getting to the bottom of a property’s value that much more difficult.
If one spouse is more closely involved in the day-to-day handling of a couple’s wealth, it can allow him or her more sway over how things are valued in the end. If you are going through a high-asset divorce, it’s critical that you become well acquainted with the financial details as quickly as possible. Working closely with an experienced Houston divorce lawyer will help ensure that your rights are protected throughout.
Divorces Involving Average Means
Even couples who have average means can own complex properties that make the division of their marital property more difficult. For example, if a couple owns and runs a small business together, that business is likely to be their most significant asset, but it also may be their sole income. In this kind of situation, this individual marital property is likely to play an outsized role in the divorce process, and it can be very difficult to put a precise value on such a property. This is especially true if both spouses are invested in continuing to run the business.
Even a relatively mild divorce is stressful, and the stress of a contentious divorce can drive otherwise reasonable spouses to do extremely unreasonable – and unexpected – things. In other words, just because you can’t imagine your spouse hiding assets, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen, and it’s important to be on the lookout for such behavior.
When complex properties are involved, there are far more opportunities to blur financial lines and to hide assets. The inherent complexities of such properties make them easier to manipulate. If your spouse has more involvement in your complex properties, it is in your best interest to bring in a divorce attorney with considerable relevant experience early on in the process.
Complex Properties and Complicating Factors
Divorce is complicated, but things can always become more complicated. As such, complex properties can become even more nebulous when they are entangled with one spouse’s separate property. If, for instance, your spouse came into the marriage with a business that was his or hers alone but that was intermingled with your marital assets in the ensuing years, it can make that complex property that much more ambiguous. When a property has been in one spouse’s family for generations but has also segued into marital property territory, it complicates the issue further.
If Your Divorce Involves Complex Properties, Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney Today
Other than your child custody arrangements, the just and right division of your marital property is the most significant component of your divorce. If your divorce involves complex properties, the issue is even more critical. The dedicated divorce attorneys at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. in Houston have the experience and knowledge to skillfully protect your rights and to aggressively advocate for the just division of marital property to which you are entitled. Our experienced legal team is here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 713-781-7775 for a free consultation today.