Even prior to marriage, spouses in Texas and elsewhere accumulate various assets, properties and debts. During marriage, these tend to multiply exponentially, making it difficult to sort through everything during dissolution. When a couple decides to divorce, they are not only making the decision to part ways and end their union, the couple is also making the choice the divvy up their marital property.

In some cases, it can be very straightforward when it comes to who gets what in a divorce. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can spell that out very well and, if properly executed, could help a couple avoid serious and drawn out disputes. For those married without either of these legal documents, it is important to understand how to go about property division in a divorce.

The first thing one must do is to understand how to characterize their property. This means determining if something is separate property or marital property. One should note, however, that even if you assume an asset is labeled a certain way, this does not mean the other spouse won’t argue that it is labeled differently. Texas residents should always be prepared to encounter disputes regarding how property and assets should be treated.

Once you get a general idea about the assets included in the marital property division, a list should be made. This should include real property, such as a home and business property, personal property, financial assets, including checking, savings and retirement accounts, business assets, liabilities and other important properties and assets. Developing this list can help you cross-reference with your ex-spouse and ensure that everything you believe is important is addressed.

Going through the divorce process requires many steps and careful attention. With regards to property division, this can be especially challenging because it is likely that a spouse will leave the marriage without an asset or property they seek to keep. Thus, understanding the process and how to best navigate it is imperative.

Source: Findlaw.com, “Checklist: Dividing Marital Property,” accessed Oct. 1, 2017