When a couple chooses to end their marriage, one of the most important factors is determining how to divide their property. Married couples often jointly own significant assets and deciding how to split up that property can become challenging and lead to hostile disputes.
When divorcing parties can reach an agreement regarding how to divide their property, the court may not play a significant role in determining who may take which assets. However, when couples disagree about what is fair. The role of the court in Austin asset division will be more critical in cases where the individuals cannot reach an agreement. It is important to have an experienced property division attorney looking out for your best interests in these cases.
Asset Division When Spouses Have a Marital Agreement
Spouses sometimes enter marital agreements that detail how they will divide property in the event of divorce. When one of these documents exists, the court will typically uphold the terms of a legally valid agreement. The court may play a role in interpreting the document’s language regarding asset division if the parties in Austin disagree with what is in the agreement.
Courts can also refuse to uphold in agreement if it is extremely inequitable or if the parties did not meet the legal requirements in drafting the contract. If one party did not disclose their assets, the document is not in writing, or a party signed under duress, a judge may deem that contract invalid.
Understanding Community Property
Courts follow community property systems when determining how to divide assets. The judge must determine a just division of the estate, which will not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. One of the first considerations the court will need to make is whether assets are marital or owned by one person.
The court may need to look at when the parties acquired certain assets, whether certain wealth is the result of an inheritance or gift, and other circumstances when deciding which property belongs to the marriage. Typically, individual property, such as assets that a person obtained before their marriage, belongs to the person alone and not the marriage. However, there are cases where the individuals will mingle their assets resulting in all the property belonging to the marriage.
Courts in Austin often play a large role in this early stage of property division. For this reason, it is important to find a lawyer who can present a person’s case to the court.
Selling Assets to Divide Property
Judges cannot easily split certain assets, such as a marital home. Some wealthy couples may have property that will offset a significant asset like a house. However, in many cases, individuals will need to divide the home’s value.
If the parties lack the finances or other assets to offset a significant piece of property, the court may use their role as the final decision maker to order the individuals in Austin to sell the assets and divide the proceeds. Making this decision can be challenging when the parties have minor children. A court may review every potential alternative before ordering a family to sell their home.
Ordering Payments to Offset Assets
If the parties cannot divide their assets equitably, the court might order one to make payments to the other to offset a piece of property. This option may allow an individual to make installment payments over a period of time rather than paying with one large sum.
In some cases, the payments might offset an asset and address marital debts that are outstanding at the point in time when the marriage ends. Anyone going through a divorce should discuss these issues and the court’s options for dividing property with an asset division lawyer in Austin.
Speak to an Austin Attorney to Learn About the Court’s Role During the Asset Division Process
The financial implications of asset division can follow a person for many years after their divorce. As such, courts aim to reach a fair and equitable division of property. There are often nuanced issues involved in any case. Therefore, divorcing parties should understand the court’s role in asset division in Austin divorces. Speak to an experienced lawyer to learn more about your rights and options during your divorce case.