One of the most difficult and complex issues a couple getting divorced in Texas must resolve is that of dividing marital property. For couples who have been married for a long time - especially those who enjoy a high net worth - this process can be exponentially more complicated, thanks to many years of combined finances and issues like asset commingling.
Texas requires marital property to be divided “justly.” Leaving aside the question of what might be considered “just” by either party, dividing marital property is obviously complicated by the fact that spouses may not agree on what should be considered marital property versus personal property. After all, one spouse may contest, using their personal property to benefit the marriage may have been done out of the goodness of their heart rather than an intent to combine personal and marital property. But, the other spouse may respond, property that is used as if it were marital property is, for all intents and purposes, just that. Which spouse is right? For help answering this question in your own divorce, review these ways that personal and marital property commonly become commingled during marriage and then contact an experienced Texas divorce lawyer.
How Does Personal Property Become Commingled?
Anything either spouse owned before getting married, as well as anything either spouse inherited or was exclusively gifted during the marriage, is considered personal property and is not subject to division during divorce. As the average age of first marriage continues to increase, people increasingly have significantly more personal property prior to getting married than in the past, whether this is the in the form of real estate ownership, liquid savings, or investment accounts.
This personal property can become commingled with marital property in several ways throughout the course of a marriage. One of the most common ways this happens is when personal funds are used to maintain or improve an asset like a marital home. Another common way is when personal funds are used to pay off marital debt. Spouses may also commingle personal and marital property when they deposit inheritance funds into a joint account, which is then used for marital expenses.
Is Commingled Property Always Marital Property?
Assets owned by either spouse when a couple files for divorce are presumed to be marital property. A spouse who wants to claim that property belongs to her personally must prove it using evidence. When spouses have commingled personal property with marital assets, extensive research must be done to trace an asset’s history and prove its origin as personal property. Sometimes, in the case of real estate, this is as simple as showing one spouse purchased a home. Other times, bank statements and spending histories must be carefully analyzed to determine whether some or all of a bank account’s funds belong exclusively to one spouse.
Call a Plano, TX Asset Division Lawyer
Dividing commingled marital assets can require extensive investigation by an experienced Collin County divorce attorney with the help of a forensic accountant. If you are getting divorced in Texas and are worried that your personal assets may have mixed with your marital assets, call the Law Office of Brian Bagley today to schedule a free consultation at (972) 843-7158. We will work with you to accurately analyze your situation and put our experience to work for you.