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Asset Identification and Valuation During Divorce

Posted on in Complex Property Litigation

TX divorce lawyerMarriage is not just an emotional partnership, but has a financial component as well. This can add an extra layer of complexity during the divorce process, as it requires the parties to identify, appraise, and divide their assets fairly before a judge will officially dissolve a marriage. For help reaching a property settlement agreement during your own divorce, please contact our high asset divorce legal team today.

Identifying and Characterizing Marital Assets

Generally, the property accumulated by a couple during their marriage belongs to both spouses and so must be divided equitably upon divorce. It is impossible, however, for a couple to come up with a fair property settlement if the parties do not have a thorough understanding of what types of property each is bringing to the table.

While identifying and characterizing marital assets may seem like a straightforward process, it can actually be quite difficult, especially because some assets, even when acquired during the marriage, are actually considered to be separate property. For instance, inheritances and gifts given to one spouse during a marriage will usually stay in that person’s sole possession even after divorce. Failing to account for these assets as separate property could result in a couple unfairly sharing the asset, while improperly characterizing an asset as separate in nature, could leave one spouse without his or her fair share of marital property.

Discovery and Disclosure

Discovery is the process during litigation in which both parties are required to request and exchange certain information prior to trial. When it comes to divorce, this involves exchanging inventories of all of the parties’ liabilities and assets, which could include some or all of the following assets:

  • Real estate
  • Antiques and collectibles
  • Jewelry
  • Artwork
  • Vehicles
  • Business interests
  • Intellectual property or electronic data
  • Retirement accounts and pensions
  • Securities and bonds

The discovery process can be informal and voluntary or could require the use of financial affidavits, depositions, and subpoenaed records in which the parties are ordered to disclose their financial information. In either case, having an experienced attorney on one’s side is critical to ensuring that the parties disclose all of the information necessary to the property division process.

Valuing Assets

How an asset is valued depends on the type of asset in question. The way that stocks and bonds are appraised, for instance, will differ significantly from how jewelry or antiques are valued. For this reason, it is important for divorcing couples to consult with professionals who can advise them during this process. This could include speaking with real estate agents, accountants, antique dealers, or even expert appraisers. It is only when the value of a couple’s assets has been reached that the parties can begin the process of dividing those assets fairly.

An Experienced Austin, TX High Asset Divorce Attorney

If you and your spouse have decided to dissolve your marriage, you need an attorney who can ensure that your assets are properly identified, characterized, and appraised. Please call Powers and Kerr, PLLC at 512-610-6199 today to speak with a knowledgeable and skilled Austin, Texas high asset divorce lawyer about dividing your own marital property.





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