Fabio & Merrill

Accurate financial records can help you with property division

For many couples in Texas considering a divorce, one of the biggest concerns is how the courts will handle their property. The asset division process can be quite intimidating, especially because it usually takes control away from the parties divorcing and gives all the power to the court.

Unless you have a prenuptial agreement on record or you and your spouse have been able to come to terms regarding asset division prior to filing for divorce, chances are good that the judge in your case will have the final say on who gets what in the asset division process.

Educating yourself about how Texas courts handle asset division can help you take steps to ensure a fair and reasonable outcome in your divorce. It can also help you prepare for the financial realities of divorce.

Texas courts will do their best to divide things fairly

State laws in Texas require that the courts split up all community property between spouses. Anything you purchase or earn during your marriage is probably community property. Both spouses have a joint ownership interest in these assets.

In most cases, assets and debts acquired during the marriage can wind up split, even if they are only in the name of one spouse. There are exceptions to this rule, as well as the potential for property owned separately prior to marriage to have become marital property. Even if you owned something prior to marriage or received it as a gift or as part of an inheritance, it could become marital property if you shared it with your spouse or commingled your assets during your marriage.

That's why it is so important that you obtain all pertinent financial records as soon as you determine you want to get a divorce. Those financial records can help you figure out what assets are likely marital property, as well as which ones will be separate property in your divorce. It can also help you determine the overall value of your marital estate.

Financial records help you track income and purchases

Financial records can play a major role in a Texas divorce. Wage records and tax documents can help you by showing what exactly you earned during the marriage. Other financial records, such as bank and credit card statements, can help you determine what assets you acquired during marriage.

All of that information is incredibly helpful while creating your asset inventory in the early stages of the divorce process. Knowing the value that your spouse paid for certain items can make it easier for you to place a value on marital property that you did not purchase yourself. Having financial records can also help ensure that you will be able to track down hidden or even valuable items, such as art or jewelry, that your spouse purchased without disclosing it to you.

Accurate financial records are critical to your success in a divorce. If you believe there may be a divorce in your future, you may want to start gathering your own copies of the pertinent financial records from your marriage now, before your living situation changes.

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