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Protecting Your Assets During Divorce

02-08-2013 02:29 PM CET | Politics, Law & Society

Press release from: McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P.

/ PR Agency: Androvett Legal Media & Marketing
Carl Michael McCurley

Carl Michael McCurley

By Carl Michael McCurley
McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P.

During a divorce, both parties feel vulnerable about their future. Their chief concern is usually whether they will have enough assets after the divorce to live comfortably and provide for their children.

This is a rational concern, given that many people are financially worse-off after divorce. That is why it is critical to invest time and energy early in the divorce process (preferably before it begins) to gather information about your assets and make sure you have an accurate picture of your family’s worth. Given the combative nature of many divorces, this can be easier said than done.

If you are considering a divorce or are in the divorce process, your attorney is your best advocate. He or she should be able to ensure that you have access to information about all your assets. If you are not yet in the process of divorce, it is a good idea to collect as much information now, before the divorce is filed, to prevent any information from being hidden from you.

Here is a list of potential assets – many people have more:

• Checking and savings accounts
• Investment accounts
• Life insurance policies
• Business entities, professional practices, partnerships or interests in closely held corporations
• Pension, retirement or executive compensation packages
• Trust funds
• Real estate, furniture and automobiles
• Jewelry, art, china, silver, furs and collectibles

If you and your spouse signed a premarital, postmarital or partition agreement, then you should have a copy of that as well.

Although Texas is a community property state, there is no promise that a couple’s “community” property will be divided equally. The court can take into account issues such as uneven earning power – and even a party’s misconduct – to make what it considers to be a fair division of assets and liabilities.

In most cases, the court cannot treat one spouse’s separate property as community property. Separate property is what each person:

• Inherits before and during the marriage
• Brings into the marriage
• Receives as a gift during the marriage
• Receives as personal-injury proceeds

Community property is everything acquired during the marriage regardless of whether one spouse bought it with his or her salary or placed only one name on the title document.

During divorce, it can be tricky to determine what property is community and what is separate. In Texas, the income earned on a separate property account is marital property. However, the increase in value of the separate property account can be separate property. It depends in part on whether the other spouse actively worked to increase the value of that property.

Depositing separate property money into a marital-property bank account creates a co-mingled account. Over the years, this can complicate the process of identifying how much is separate versus marital property. Add in a purchase of something like a vacation home with co-mingled funds, and you have an even more complex situation.

For more information about property division in Texas divorce, see our article Who Gets What in Texas.

If you have assets that are clearly and cleanly separate property (i.e. they have not been co-mingled with community property), then it is safe to remove those items or otherwise secure them during your divorce process. If the property is likely to be the subject of a dispute between you and your spouse, consult an attorney before removing it from your home.

Given the complex nature of property ownership after even a few years of marriage, it is absolutely crucial to secure the services of an attorney who is well-versed in complex property disputes in divorce.

If a divorce is highly stressful, it can be tempting to want to “wash your hands” of all remnants of your marriage in an effort to move on quickly. Your future financial stability, however, requires that you remain steadfast and resolute.

Unless you have a generous inheritance coming, you will most likely need an equitable share of your family’s assets to have a comfortable life post-divorce.

With offices in Dallas and San Antonio, McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P., is one of the largest firms in Texas specializing solely in Family Law. Each of the firm’s name partners is a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and all partners are members of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists. All partners are Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, with Richard Orsinger holding additional certification in Civil Appellate Law.

For more information on McCurley Orsinger’s work in divorce-related property issues, please contact Mike Androvett at or 800-559-4534.

With offices in Dallas and San Antonio, McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P., is one of the largest firms in Texas specializing solely in Family Law. Each of the firm’s name partners is a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and all partners are members of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists. All partners are Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, with Richard Orsinger holding additional certification in Civil Appellate Law.

Androvett Legal Media & Marketing
2501 Oak Lawn Ave. #650
Dallas, TX 75219
Press contact: Mike Androvett, 214-559-4630 or

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