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TX divorce lawyerThere are two questions that often come up in high asset divorce cases: First, how does a court properly characterize “community” versus “separate” property? Second, to what extent does the other party's fault in causing the divorce affect the court's division of community property?

Court: Judge Allowed to Award Ex-Wife Greater Share of Community Property Based on Ex-Husband's Infidelity

To give you some idea of how the courts address these questions, here is a recent decision from the Texas 1st District Court of Appeals. In this case, a former husband appealed a divorce judgment that awarded most of the couple's community property to the former wife. On appeal, the husband challenged both the unequal distribution and the overall characterization of some of the property.

The couple was previously married for 10 years. The former wife filed for divorce on grounds of infidelity and cruel treatment. The former husband apparently did not challenge these allegations. The trial court ultimately granted the divorce on grounds of infidelity and cruel treatment.

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TX divorce lawyerTexas residents who file for divorce and who are unable to come to an agreement regarding how their assets will be divided are often concerned about how their inherited assets will be handled by the court during the process of property division. While it is true that for the most part, inheritances that are left to only one spouse during a marriage are considered the separate property of that spouse, this is not always the case. For help determining whether your own inheritance could be divided between you and your soon-to-be former spouse upon divorce, please contact our dedicated high asset divorce legal team today.

What Is Separate Property?

Texas is a community property state, which means that during divorce, all of a couple’s marital property must be divided equally. For this reason, determining which assets qualify as marital and which are considered separate is extremely important to the results of the property division process. Marital property is made up of assets accumulated by the couple during the marriage, regardless of which spouse purchased or acquired them. The term separate property, on the other hand, refers to assets that the parties brought into the marriage.

Important Exceptions

While determining which type of property an asset qualifies as depends largely on when the asset was acquired, there are a few exceptions to this general rule. For instance, inheritances that are left to one party exclusively are usually considered to be separate property, even when the bequest is made during the course of the beneficiary’s marriage. Similarly, assets that would initially qualify as separate property can become marital property if they were commingled with the couple’s marital property during the marriage. This same rule applies to inheritances, so just because a person received an inheritance during his or her marriage, does not automatically mean that it will be considered separate property. Instead, courts will also look at what the inheritor used the bequest for when determining whether it should be divided equally.

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Posted on in High Asset Divorce

Texas divorce lawTexas law requires that divorcing couples divide their property in an equitable manner. However, this rule only applies to marital property, as separate property will remain under the sole ownership of the original holder. Inheritances, for example, are considered the separate property of the person to whom they were bequeathed, even if they were given to one spouse during a marriage. In some cases, it is still possible for another party to retain a portion of one spouse’s inheritance, so if you were given a valuable gift or inherited property from a loved one during your marriage and you are now going through a divorce, please consider speaking with a high asset divorce attorney who can help you protect your assets.

Separate Property

Under Texas law there are three types of assets that qualify as separate property:

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Texas prenuptial agreement attorney, Texas complex litigation lawyerNo couple wants to consider the possibility that their marriage will end in divorce. However, it is often in the best interests of all parties to take precautions for this possibility by drafting a prenuptial agreement that will govern how property will be distributed in the event of a divorce. A couple who does not create a prenuptial agreement risks an unfair division of marital property during dissolution, so if you are considering marriage and have questions or concerns about drafting a prenuptial agreement or if you already have one in place and are pursuing a divorce, it is critical to contact an experienced complex divorce attorney who can explain your legal options.

The Contents of a Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements can go a long way towards giving couples peace of mind regarding property division and alimony. However, only certain issues can be covered in prenuptial agreements, including:

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Texas high asset divorce attorney, Texas complex property litigation attorneyDivorces are notorious for being time-consuming, emotionally draining, and financially taxing. Unfortunately, in Texas, this is often exacerbated by the unique legal process required to divide community property. In many cases, most of a couple’s assets fall under the category of community property and an unfair division could be devastating, so if you or a loved one is considering a divorce, it is vital to speak with a complex property litigation attorney who is familiar with the process and will aggressively represent your interests.

Separate Property v. Community Property

The Texas Constitution specifically defines separate property as any property that was:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_property-division.jpgWhen a couple has difficulty seeing eye to eye as they begin the process of ending their marriage, it often takes an aggressive divorce attorney to step in and help address the core legal issues and ensure that the client’s best interest is protected. It is not uncommon for disagreements to arise about everything from alimony and child support to the division of assets and parenting plans.

Property Division According to What Is “Just and Right”

One area in particular that can cause problems for divorcing spouses is the ownership and division of property. Usually, courts in the state of Texas will divide property based on what they believe is best for everyone, taking into consideration the needs of the family, instead of dividing property equally.

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Texas high-asset divorce attorney, Texas complex litigation lawyer, complex property negotiations,The marriage dissolution rate for these couples has doubled in the last twenty years. These "gray divorce" matters are often the epitome of a high-asset divorce. While there may be no complex child custody issues to resolve, the property division can be a Gordian Knot of separate assets, community assets, and commingled assets.

Aging baby boomers were the first demographic group to divorce in significant numbers. Many of these people are now in their second or subsequent marriage, and the fact that the divorce rate is significantly higher in these relationships may partially explain the gray divorce phenomenon. In one study, the authors pointed to unique later-in-life issues — such as the empty nest syndrome, declining physical health, and ailing parents — which can put added strain on a relationship.

The study predicted that gray divorce would increase even if the overall divorce rate remained flat, due to the aging American population.

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