Protecting Assets and Separate Property
Protecting Assets That Need Protecting
If you are involved in a divorce that is governed by the laws of Texas, the courts in Texas must presume that all of the assets that exist at the time of the divorce are the community property of the spouses and therefore subject to division by the court. This is, of course, unless one or the other of the spouses can prove otherwise. If you have separate property rights that require protection, for personal or other reasons, you should consider the implementation of sound planning or, perhaps, of a well-drafted prenuptial or marital agreement.
Kimberly D. Levi is a family law attorney in Houston, Texas, who is ready to provide you with accurate and important information to enable you to make informed decisions for the successful future of yourself and your family. In Texas, separate property primarily includes assets one spouse owned prior to marriage or that one spouse received as a gift or from inheritance after marriage. While separate property is not typically subject to division by Texas courts, there are several things that could cause separate property to become community property. Some examples include:
Commingling: If community property funds are added to a separate property account, or visa- versa, the separate assets could become community property.
Title Changes: If you put your spouse’s name on the title of a home or other asset, Texas law will presume that you intended to give your spouse 50 percent of your separate property interest in that asset. To avoid this presumption, make it clear in the title that you have no intent to gift to your spouse your interest in the asset.
Lack of Tracing: If you move money or stocks from one account to another and do not save records of the transfers, the assets could lose their characterization as separate property.
Prenuptial and Marital Agreements
Prenuptial (before marriage) and marital (during marriage) agreements allow the parties to the agreement to determine in advance how assets will be allocated among the parties whether the marriage is dissolved by death or by divorce. These agreements are honored in Texas as long as they are properly drafted. It is also important to keep in mind that the future enforcability of the agreement is vastly improved if each spouse has his or her own attorney and, in the case of prenups, the agreement is not presented for signature at the 11th hour prior to marriage.
Contact Houston divorce attorney Kimberly D. Levi today for a consultation regarding how you can mot effectively protect your assets and separate property.