Property Division Lawyer
Dividing property during a divorce can potentially lead to conflicts with your former spouse that are difficult to resolve.
The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt can help settle disputes over property division, aiming for a mutually beneficial agreement.
Learn why people in Arlington, Southlake, and Westover Hills, TX, come to our law firm for help with property distribution...
How Property Is Divided
Before a final divorce decree can be entered, the court must decide who gets what. To do this, the judge will look at what property and debt the couple has and enter an order for the fair division of that property. The court has to first determine which items belonged to the couple and which items belong to only one spouse.
Texas aims for an equitable distribution of assets and debts. This does not mean each spouse gets half. Instead, equitable distribution divides property based on the duration of the marriage, each spouse's financial contributions to the marriage, and each spouse's financial situation once the marriage has ended.
Common Assets Divided
- Real estate
- Cars and other vehicles
- Shared bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
Separate Property vs. Marital Property
Also known as community property, marital property is all property acquired during a marriage and owned equally by both spouses.
Separate property is any property acquired prior to marriage. In a divorce, a spouse keeps all of their separate property.
Changes in Classification
The classification of community and separate property may change during the marriage. As a result, coming to a decision on these items can sometimes be a fraught discussion. If you and your spouse are unable to agree on who should take the property, the court will take evidence and make a final decision for you.
Do You Have a Property Dispute? Speak with a Divorce Lawyer
If you and your spouse are having disagreements over who gets what, it's important to speak with a lawyer. An attorney can provide objectivity and peace of mind during your divorce case, and can help seek a mutually beneficial solution when it comes to dividing marital assets and debts.
The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt is based in Arlington but has helped men and women from Southlake, Westover Hills, and Fort Worth, TX, with their property division disputes. We have a strong reputation in Tarrant County, handling cases for fellow lawyers and judges.
For more information about dividing community property and protecting separate property, contact our law firm online. You can also call our family law office at:
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Donna is an amazing, very talented family law attorney that I recommend highly. She helped me immensely during a very difficult time of my life during my divorce. She works tirelessly to ensure her clients are well represented, covers all contingencies, (even those you don’t think off), and the bottom line is she WINS the best outcome for your family.View on Google
Donna & her staff are the best. Divorce is always a very emotional time. They were always understanding, supportive, very professional. If you’re an animal lover & concerned about what happens to your four legged friend in all of this, Donna knows they are family, too.View on Google
Factors That Affect
- The length of the marriage
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage
- The earning potential of each spouse
- The education level of each spouse
- The age and health of each spouse
- Each spouse's financial situation
- Child custody/conservatorship
- Standard of living during marriage
Dividing Retirement Accounts
Retirement accounts may include your pension, 401(k), IRA, and any other savings plans. These accounts are subject to distribution during a divorce.
Why Timing Matters
Any contributions to a retirement account prior to marriage are considered separate property. Contributions that were made during the marriage are considered marital property. We can note the dates of your marriage to ensure assets are properly accounted for.
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a court order that guarantees a person a portion of their spouse's retirement benefits. A judge will need to sign a QDRO for you to receive retirement benefits.
A Note on Standing Orders
While many Texas counties have standing orders that prevent a spouse from cashing out accounts, Tarrant County does not have such standing orders. This is why it's important to have an attorney on your side. A family lawyer can note actions taken by your spouse to alter finances or the state of the marriage prior to a judge hearing the matter.
Dividing Complicated Assets
What Is a Complex Asset?
Broadly speaking, complex assets in a divorce are assets that are more difficult to divide equitably. Examples of these types of marital assets include:
- Stock options
Transmutation is when separate property becomes considered marital property. This can occur when separate assets are commingled in a joint account, or when real estate given as a gift to one spouse becomes jointly used as a marital home.
How a Lawyer Can Help
The attorneys at our Arlington, TX, law firm can help with complex property division issues. We can arrive at a proper appraisal of a business, and also help determine an equitable distribution of separate property that became marital property.
Inheritance isn't automatically classified as community property if it's received during your marriage. The same is true of any gifts you receive that are explicitly for you. However, these assets could become commingled if they are deposited into a joint bank account or through other circumstances.
The classification of debt during a marriage is the same as any assets. Debt a spouse has prior to marriage belongs to them, and any debt accrued during a marriage belongs to both spouses. This is crucial to consider when it comes to mortgages, loans, and consumer debt.
Settling debt in a marriage may involve both spouses selling marital property, or one spouse taking on more debt based on the assets they receive. Similarly, matters of child custody and conservatorship can affect the amount of debt one spouse is responsible for in the divorce.
Our divorce attorneys have worked with men and women throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. We can help assess the situation and come up with a solution that reduces your burden of marital debt.
Need Help Protecting Your Assets? Our Attorneys Can Offer You Support
Property division disputes can be heated. A family law attorney can help ensure that the distribution of martial assets and debts remains equitable, and that you protect your separate property throughout the divorce proceedings. The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt has worked with men and women throughout Arlington, Southlake, and Westover Hills, TX, and they are ready to hear from you. Contact our law office online, or give us a call to set up a consultation over the phone.
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Impact on the Divorce
Mediation for Property Disputes
Not all property disputes require a lengthy court battle. Couples are always free to negotiate on their own and come up with a proposal for property distribution. However, even amicable divorces can reach an impasse.
The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt aims for mutually beneficial arrangements between spouses. Mediation is one method of achieving an amicable resolution over property division, child support, spousal support, and other legal issues during divorce.
During mediation, both sides meet with a neutral third party who helps steer spouses toward compromise. This allows both spouses to avoid going to court, and helps prevent emotionally exhausting arguments.
Donna J. Smiedt can go over the benefits of mediation in greater detail during a legal consultation.
Lawyers Who Are On Your Side Located in the Middle of Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
I have known Donna since 2006 and am beyond grateful to have had her on my side. She is considerate, confident, and truly a loving person. My journey with her has led her to become a genuine friend of mine and I would highly recommend her to anyone! She will listen to your needs and pour her heart into being an advocate for you. She is unlike any other lawyer and will be real with you and take care of business. She excels at what she does and has a passion for winning for all of her clients. She will listen to you and make it her mission to help you throughout your difficult times. Additionally, her staff is very welcoming and helpful. As a person who has gone through two divorces, I would not trust any other lawyer than Donna. Her name, experience, and years in the business tells you all that you need to know.View on Google
There is no possible way to plan for what challenges life can throw at you. When one of our grown children approached my wife and I needing guidance regarding a custody battle with our grandchild, I knew immediately who I was going to contact for advice. Already having a business-to-business relationship with Donna and her team, I had already been introduced to the knowledge, reputation and professionalism that this firm is so well known for. What I didn't know was how Donna and her team (Mr. Munoz and Jennifer) would shift gears from our business relationship and really take a personal interest in resolving a very important family issue for our son. I find it SO REFRESHING when people/businesses deliver on the promises they make - not because they do business together - because they care about getting the right results in the most efficient manner possible. There are many Family Law Firm options out there and as many unique situations to resolve. In my opinion, there is only one team/firm I would trust with both -Thank You Team Smiedt!View on Google