Dividing Sentimental Assets in a Texas Divorce
Posted on in Divorce
Asset division can often become fairly contentious in a Texas divorce. Texas follows a community property division system, which means that everything the couple owns is split 50/50, regardless of the circumstances of the divorce.
However, many couples have property that go beyond just the financial value, but instead hold significant sentimental value, such as a piece of art or jewelry. How do the courts address these types of asset division issues and how can you and your spouse avoid a drawn-out fight over who gets to retain the item?
The little details about the item can make a difference. For example, the date, or approximate date, of acquisition can often decide who actually has ownership of the item. If you or your spouse acquired the item before your marriage, it is your (or their) property, with no obligation to share or commingle.
The law holds that nonmarital property encompasses all that you owned before your marriage unless you actively take the step of making it marital property. For example, if you own a parcel of land before your marriage, and sign half the interest over to your spouse, that land would qualify as marital property, because you took the affirmative step of involving your spouse in its administration.
But when the item was a gift, it can make the issue even murkier. Depending on the donor’s intent, which is not always able to be clarified, an asset may be marital or nonmarital property. If the item was a gift to the couple, it is marital property, but if the item was a gift to just one of the spouses, it may not or may not be considered marital property.
For example, if your parents gave you their vehicle while you were married, it is usually considered a gift only to you. If your parents gave you cash as a gift, the court will likely consider it marital property because that cash likely became commingled with other marital income.
Possible Ways to Keep the Asset
If you and your spouse have sentimental assets that are considered marital property, your attorney may be able to negotiate a favorable settlement where you will be able to keep the assets.
Unfortunately, amicable divorces can quickly turn acrimonious and there is no guarantee of getting that item in the divorce settlement. This is why many couples turn to a more formal way to ensure they retain the asset by drafting a prenuptial agreement. Couples who are already married can also address these types of issues in a postnuptial agreement.
Contact a Plano, TX Divorce Attorney
Whether you are facing a friendly or contentious divorce, you should have a skilled Collin County divorce lawyer advocating for you and ensuring your best interests are protected. Call Law Office of Brian Bagley at (972) 843-7158 to schedule a free consultation.