Over Three Decades of Combined Experience Working for You
Denton Property Division Lawyers
Experienced Representation for Your Divorce
Valuation, division, and what is fair: In addition to resolving matters of financial support and child custody/ parenting, the division of property between parties must be resolved before the finalization of a divorce. Whether your divorce is highly complex or relatively straightforward, the assets and debts of you and your spouse must be divvied up in some form or fashion. Fortunately, our team of property division attorneys in Denton have everything you need to address these issues fairly and efficiently.
First Thing’s First: Identifying the Property to Be Divided
Before any issue of property division in Denton can be resolved, each piece of property must first be identified. Only when the assets and debts (i.e., the “plusses and minuses”) are laid out on the table can we get an accurate picture of what makes up the marital pot.
Both parties must disclose to each other each asset and debt they currently possess (and in some instances, what they may be entitled to in the future). This disclosure is signed under oath so as to prevent incomplete and/or fraudulent declaration of property (such as a knowing misrepresentation of value).
Property that may be subject to division includes:
- A homestead
- Other real property
- Recreational vehicles
- Retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, pensions, IRAs, etc.
- Investment accounts
- Businesses and business interests
- Debts (credit card debt, mortgage liability, etc.)
**Note: Generally, property brought into a marriage, inherited, or received as a gift is not subject to division and is known as separate property.
Once all property is identified, the debts are subtracted from the assets, thereby resulting in an overall value of the marital property. This number may be positive or negative depending on the ratio of debts to assets. But before the adding and subtracting can begin, each piece of property must first be valued.
In many instances, an asset or debt may be valued with relative ease, such as the amount of credit card debt, the outstanding mortgage liability, or the present value of a retirement account, investment account or life insurance policy. The fair market value of real estate may also be relatively calculable (although these values may be contested in some situations).
In other cases, the valuation of a property may not be so easy to establish. This is often the case with business interests. Each business and business interest must be evaluated and assigned a fair market value before distribution is possible. This often requires the assistance of a financial expert, such as a CPA, forensic accountant, and/or a business valuation professional to value the business and testify in court.
There are also some cases where the parties disagree as to the date of valuation of a particular piece of property. When valuation of a property is disputed, it is critically important to hire competent, experienced legal counsel to help you secure the property division in North Texas that you deserve.
Don't wait to get started on your case. Contact our firm today.