The challenging part about divorce is that it offers two different kinds of challenges. The first challenge is that of a complex transactional matter involving essential issues related to your life. Your finances, your children, and your post-divorce life all hang in the balance during a Texas divorce. As such, you need to negotiate through these issues with a rational mind and with a set of goals to accomplish. Wandering into a divorce is not a good idea because you have no plan in place to achieve any goals or to go about setting yourself up for success in your post-divorce life.
The other aspect of your case that is difficult to manage will be those parts of your case that are sentimental get involved longstanding emotion over essential areas of your life. I am thinking about topics like your family home, your relationship with your children's assets of sentimental value, and things of this nature. These are topics and subjects that can be important from a financial perspective and extremely important from an emotional standpoint. That is what you get in a Texas divorce: emotional and practical issues that are extremely important and need to be balanced by you and your attorney.
Today's blog post will focus on where the world of practice in finance meets the world of emotional and sentimental. Within a Texas divorce, you will be asked to identify property that falls into your community estate and then works through dividing those assets up with your spouse during your divorce. This is a fundamental responsibility for you to work through. Not only will it impact your life in the present and future from a financial perspective, but it will also leave an imprint on your case in life from an emotional perspective as well. How you manage these issues and divide these assets can you pay dividends or cost you a great deal.
Be intentional about whatever you decide to do.
The first piece of advice I would give to you regarding dividing up assets in a divorce is to do, above all else, be intentional about what you do. This means that you need to be prepared to work through issues in your divorce by understanding what is at stake in your case and then planning how to achieve whatever results you want. Above all else, you should not consider any topic regarding dividing up assets without understanding why you want to do something.
Begin by determining what goals you have for your case. Some of these goals may be essential, high priority, or at the most optional. It is up to you to determine what goals you can not bend on in terms of their importance what goals you are willing to concede in particular circumstances. Many people associate specific goals about their children to be the most important send have the opinion of their financial goals are less important. As a parent myself, I cannot say that I blame you if this is how you feel.
However, it would be best if you also understood that accomplishing and setting financial goals for your divorce is also very important. Determining why those goals are important to you is an incredibly worthwhile exercise to engage in, as well. When you think about why something is important to you, I'll tell you how much effort to put forth when achieving that goal and whether or not it is worth it to accomplish that goal rather than focus your time and energy on something else. Again, I think that sentimentality in a divorce has its place and certainly impacts your decision-making.
If you have financial assets that are of great importance to you, then I would sit and determine whether the importance of those assets is objective and based on specific benchmarks or financial realities in your life or whether those assets are important to you from an emotional or sentimental perspective. I am not here to judge you based on how you feel about any specific item in your life. All of us have things in our life that are more sentimental and important to us rather than financial. However, learning why something is important to you may impact how you prepare to negotiate for it within your case.
Determine whether you have to divide the property in question
Before we even get into strategy or methods to divide assets with sentimental importance, when he defers, think about whether or not the property has to be divided up anyways. The answer to this question boils down to whether the property is part of the community estate of you and your spouse or is one of your separate pieces of property. Community property laws are relatively unique to Texas and just a few other states. For that reason, I would like to spend some time talking about community versus separate property in a Texas divorce.
All property owned by you and your spouse at the time of your divorce is presumed to be Community property. This means that absent evidence to the contrary, property in your home outside your home that you and your spouse own will be presumed to be needed to be divided up in the divorce. Property that you and your spouse separately own will be classified as separate property; it is not divisible in a Texas divorce. Typically, we're talking about property owned by either of you before your marriage or that you came into ownership of during the divorce via gift or inheritance.
For many married couples, the vast majority of their property will be classified as Community property within the divorce. This means that you need to have a firm grasp of what property is in play for your divorce and how it would most likely be classified by a judge if your case was made to that step. At the outset of your case, I would begin by inventorying your home, financial assets, vehicles investments, or anything else in your lives that may be subject to division by a court.
The next step in this process is to classify all this property as either part of your separate estate, community estate, or belonging to the different estate of your spouse. Once you have done this, you can distinguish between the property that can develop a beautiful voice ever property cannot be. This will save you a great deal of time and effort down the line; it will help you stay organized. This does not have to be a detailed or complex method of division or preparation. You can go to each room in your house, snap photographs of various items, and then get out a legal pad and write down the articles you see. Photographing bank accounts or retirement savings is not as effective, but the same process can be repeated for financial statements and things of that nature.
Since we're talking about assets that hold sentimental value, I will assume that various financial accounts in retirement savings vehicles are not items you have particularly close to your heart. You may understand on an objective level that these assets are of value to you, but you don't hold any deep emotional attachment to any of them. They are simply a means by which you can get from one place to another - vehicle, in other words.
If, after analyzing your financial life, you have come to find that many of the assets that are part of your community state are also ones that you hold a deep sentimental attachment to, then you have a problem on your hands that you need to overcome. That problem will likely not be the most important for you in your case, but it is a problem, nonetheless. The problem that I am talking about is How to divide these critical assets from a financial and an emotional perspective. Every one of us places different amounts of importance on individual holdings from each of these perspectives. My objective in talking to you about them is to give you general advice on how to solve your way through these various issues.
There is the house and everything else.
As far as assets are concerned that you have a sentimental attachment to, I would recommend that you look at them from the perspective of which ones are your home and which ones are everything else. The family house in a divorce takes on a life of its own. First, there are the obvious financial ramifications of purchasing and selling a home. For most people, it is the most critical inexpensive transaction you will make in your life. Add to that the apparent reality that your family has lived in that home and that you have many memories between those four walls. As such, the family house takes on added importance both from a financial and emotional perspective.
With that said, you need to make sure that if you are trying to remain in the family house after a divorce, you do so because it is what is best for you and your family. Simply staying in a home because you have an emotional attachment to it is not a good plan. On the contrary, if he remains in a house just because you are attached to it from a sentimental perspective, that can end up hurting you a great deal from a financial perspective. It would help if you were sure that you could take on all the costs of a house without the assistance of your spouse's income.
If you can afford the payments on the home and if remaining in the house is best for you and your children both now and years into the future, there is nothing wrong with pushing to stay in the family house after the divorce. However, simply staying in the house because you feel like consistency for your children is paramount over any other issue would be a mistake, in my opinion. You are temporarily downgrading in place to collect yourself financially and emotionally after a divorce is not a bad idea at all. Kids are more adaptable inflexible than we give them credit for. Do not let an overly emotional attachment to the house harm your divorce and post-divorce lives.
For all other assets that hold sentimental value, you need to determine why you have those assets as being particularly impactful from a sentimental perspective. There are certain assets that I believe rightfully carry with them a great deal of sentimentality. Things like your grandfather's Bible, items given to you by a deceased relative before their passing, photographs of cherished memories, and things related to your children are all items with great sentimentality attached to them in many cases; these highly sentimental assets have little to no monetary value. Therefore, be prepared to negotiate for them with this in mind, and don't fool yourself into thinking that they have any added importance beyond the sentimental value itself.
Hopefully, you and your spouse will negotiate your way around the items you have an emotional attachment to. The odds are good that your spouse also feels emotionally attached to various items in your home that have little to no monetary value. These are items that should not delay your divorce but can if you and your spouse are not intentional but how you negotiate through them may be devising a plan to allow them to retain certain items while allowing you to control sure others would be the best way to attack things that have sentimental value but perhaps don't have as much in the form of monetary value.
Questions about the material contained in this blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post; please do not hesitate to contact the law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video.