Identifying And Tracing Separate Property
Proper identification and tracing of separate property assets is a highly litigated area of family law. It can also be one of the most complex. Separate property is generally defined as property that was acquired before marriage or that was acquired by gift or inheritance. Often, clients intermingle their separate property with property acquired during the marriage, thus losing or complicating its identification as separate.
At Fabio & Merrill, we can assess whether the tracing of that separate property is possible and at what cost. If an attorney is not prepared or knowledgeable in this area, clients can lose inheritances or other property that thwarts the intent of the original beneficiary.
Understanding Property Laws In Texas
In a Texas marriage, all property is presumed to be community; that is, owned by husband and wife even if held in just one of the party’s names. Assets can be identified as separate, however, if they were acquired prior to marriage, acquired by gift or inherited after marriage. Establishing property as separate requires a lawyer to present clear and convincing evidence that traces that property as separate property. In the case of stocks, for instance, a skilled lawyer must examine the stock holdings carefully in order to determine if it has been sold and reinvested or utilized by the husband and wife during the marriage. We work with forensic accountants who specialize in this area.
At Fabio & Merrill, we are ready to put our 35-plus years of experience to work to protect your separate assets as much as legally possible.