The expression “the devil is in the details” probably wasn’t created to describe the division of assets during a married couple’s break up, but it could have been. Property division during divorce can get just as nitpicky in Texas as anywhere else in the country. Attorneys understand asset disputes often come down to the personal value spouses place on property.
Tangible property is often the easiest to divide unless the asset’s worth fluctuates over time. Unless a car is a collectors’ item, vehicles generally depreciate in value with age. Five years after divorce, the car is likely to be worth less than it was at the time of settlement. On the other hand, a marital home assessed for one price at divorce may sell for far more or much less in the future depending on housing market conditions.
Divorce lawyers are quick to point out that property division goes deeper than the vehicles in the driveway and the home a couple once shared. Couples share joint bank and brokerage accounts, retirement funds, businesses and other investments. Property values sometimes enter a gray area when one or both spouses have a sentimental attachment to an asset like a collectible.
Artwork is a prime example of an asset with a dual value. Art may be qualified at one price for buyers and a separate price for owners. Emotional investment is not easy to express in monetary form.
Asset valuation and subsequent negotiations are integral parts of every divorce settlement. Without an agreement, a judge will defer to Texas community property laws that require couples to share marital assets 50-50.
Divorcing couples can squabble over items like a teacup collection or frequent flier miles that can seem minor to outside observers. Matrimonial attorneys guide parties toward settlements that are fair in the eyes of the law and, perhaps more importantly, to the benefit of a divorcing spouse.
forbes.com, “Divorce: Who Gets The Air Miles?” Jeff Landers, Jun. 26, 2013