Much like we think cancer, a car accident or a job loss will never happen to us, most married couples in Texas believe that divorce won’t happen to them either. However, the reality is that this divorce is a process that some married couple will face. Thus, it is important to consider what a spouse will need to do to complete the process with their rights intact.
The division of marital property can be one of the most contentious divorce issues. Oftentimes spouses cannot see eye-to-eye when it comes to property division, and disputes are likely to arise. These arguments are not only based on what is legally considered marital or separate property, but they are also based on whether separate property could be considered marital property due to how it was treated during the marriage.
An asset or property is considered to be separate if it was owned prior to marriage and kept separate throughout marriage. However, if an asset is placed into a joint account, used for joint expenses or is treated like marital property, it will assume that label. This also means that it will be up for division during dissolution.
Possible assets a divorcing spouse might be able to take a portion of include retirement accounts. Depending on the circumstances and factors of the marriage, it is possible to obtain a one-time distribution from a qualified retirement plan without penalty. However, one should note that these funds received are taxable. It is also possible to include a family business during property division. If the business was started during marriage, this asset is considered to be marital. It is important to have the business assets valued. This could help the divorcing spouses reach an agreement, such as buying the other out in order to keep the business operating.
Finally, divorcing spouses may need to consider Social Security benefits when dividing marital property. For those married at least 10 years and divorced for at least two years, one might be eligible to receive half the value of an ex spouse’s Social Security benefits when one reaches at least 62 years of age.
Divorce means looking at your assets and property in ways you never expected. For better or worse, divorce sometimes means taking only half of what was obtained during a marriage. In order to sort through this divorce issue, spouses should take the time to understand the process and what rights they have.