fWhen two people are married, the property they acquired together becomes community property of which they each share equal ownership rights. When those individuals decide to end their marriage, they must find a way to divide that property.
State law requires that judges divide property equitably but not necessarily equally. Property division is, therefore, an issue of fairness based on the court’s opinion. Sometimes, property division becomes more difficult because of the assets the individuals own.
If you have questions about dividing your assets, speak to an Austin complex property division lawyer. A skilled divorce attorney could provide you with guidance as you navigate the divorce process and advocate on your behalf.
When Can Property Division Become Complicated in a Divorce?
Some property might be reasonably straightforward to divide. For instance, if the parties have a joint bank account, the amount of money in that account is its entire value. Other assets can be far more challenging to divide because it is more difficult to understand their value or potential value. A lawyer in Austin could help someone with the property division process if they own some of these more complex assets.
If a party owns a business or part of a business, the value of this asset is often unclear. Businesses may have revenue and liabilities, and the value of a business when sold will likely differ from the value of the business in operation.
Additionally, selling a business might not be in either parties’ interests, and dividing a business between divorcing parties might be impossible. However, married parties must figure out a way fairly divide the value of a business because it might be a significant source of the spouse’s wealth.
Pensions and Other Retirement Assets
If one party has significant retirement assets or a pension that they will not benefit from for many years into the future, the question arises of how to divide that future asset. Both parties likely own an interest in one individual’s pension or retirement accounts. One way divorcing parties might divide this asset is a single payment to offset the total value, and another would be for a spouse to receive payments from that account when the benefits go into effect.
Self-employed individuals often have varying incomes. When setting spousal or child support, it can be difficult for a court to create an award that acknowledges an inconsistent income level. In these cases, attorneys may need to develop a more creative solution.
Sometimes individuals will choose not to earn as much money as they could. In these cases, one party might be under-employed because of childcare obligations. Other times, an individual may not want to hold down a demanding job.
Unemployed and underemployed individuals can create complications in determining asset division and spousal or child support. Courts can sometimes impute income on an individual and treat that person as if they are earning income that meets their career potential. Even making that sort of determination can be a challenge.
When Individual Assets Become Marital
Another issue that often impacts asset division is controversy over whether assets are marital or owned by one party. If one of the spouses purchased a home or had significant wealth prior to the marriage, those assets are not part of the marital estate.
However, if an individual mingles their assets with marital assets, the status of the property changes and becomes marital. For instance, if both parties contributed to the mortgage of a house, or the parties mingle their bank accounts, the individual property might become jointly owned marital wealth. An attorney in Austin could help two divorcing parties deal with these complex property division issues.
Hire an Austin Complex Asset Division Attorney
Anytime that parties hold complex assets, property division can become challenging. Although the individuals might be able to negotiate terms between themselves, many divorcing spouses will not be able to reach an agreement. Anyone going through a divorce should take the time to evaluate their financial situation and their assets fully. If you have questions, speak to an Austin complex asset division lawyer from our firm today.