One of the first things many people want to know when retaining an Austin divorce attorney is how to win everything in a divorce.
Unless someone agrees to an unfair divorce agreement, which a court is not likely to approve, or there is a binding prenuptial agreement, no one will “win” everything in a divorce settlement.
Texas is a Community Property State
The term win is not really accurate, as Texas is a community property state. This means in theory the court could divide your marital assets right down the middle 50/50. Separate property will remain separate, but marital assets are subject to the laws in place.
Marital assets are defined as anything acquired during the marriage. There are some things that may not be subject to division. Some examples of separate property can include:
- Family heirlooms
- Birthday gifts
- Some aspects of a personal injury award (portions that are reimbursement for community property items like medical bills, loss of earnings)
- Purchases made prior to the marriage
Tips for Getting What You Want from Your Divorce Settlement
When you are preparing for your divorce, you want to start by identifying your priorities and what the potential issues will be. Divorce is an emotional and stressful process in most cases, especially if there are minor children involved and/or you have a large marital asset portfolio. Because you are not likely to be thinking clearly in the heat of the moment and during negotiations, it is important to plan ahead and think about what is truly important to you. Don’t think about immediate needs either. Consider what your long-term goals are after the divorce.
Here are some other tips that can help you get what you want from your divorce settlement:
- Be ready to compromise: Establishing priorities ahead of time can help you decide what you can live with and live without. Even the best divorce attorney will not get you 100% of the assets, so you need to decide what you are willing to fight for and what you are willing to let go. Perhaps you have a boat and a racecar, and your ex is willing to let the racecar go in favor of the boat. If that car is your top priority, let the boat go and move on.
- Learn when it’s time to give up: Don’t keep the divorce pending over petty things. Imagine fighting over an inexpensive item that is worth $100. You end up dragging out the divorce and ask your attorney to send a letter and the added fees total $500. You essentially lost $400, or $500 if you don’t get the item in the settlement anyway.
- Listen to Your Attorney: A skilled divorce attorney has ample experience handling bitter divorces. If your attorney tells you the court will divide something 50/50 and you want to hold out in hopes of a better resolution, you may be wasting your money. You could utilize those legal fees in other areas where you really need to, like child custody or spousal support. Sometimes, “winning” is walking way and resolving the divorce before it gets really nasty, especially if you have minor children.
- Focus on Your Children: Most people spend their time arguing over material items, but you should be focused on the most important aspects — like custody of your children. It’s important to decide on custody and support together. Put your bitterness aside for your kids. Divorce can certainly impact some children in negative ways, so you need to not drag out the process by arguing over meaningless items.
- Don’t Hide Assets: One sure way to wind up walking away with less than you want from a divorce settlement is to hide assets. If your spouse suspects you’ve hidden money or other assets, his or her attorney may hire experts to uncover your financial activity. They will even go back and search your financial records from before the filing date, so don’t assume you can hide money six months before filing and no one will notice. A family court judge is not going to look kindly on someone who tried to defraud the court and hid property in an attempt to keep your spouse from getting their share.
Retaining an Austin Divorce Attorney
If you have questions about what is considered marital property and/or you need representation for your divorce, it’s important to speak with an experienced Texas family law attorney. Every divorce is unique, and only a licensed attorney can tell you for certain how the process works. Call us at the Law Office of Ben Carrasco at 512-320-9126 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.