Jointly Titled Personal Property
It is not uncommon for married couples to own property together. Typically, property in the name of both spouses consists of homes, office buildings, and other real property, but it can include jointly titled personal property as well, such as cars, boats, art, and other assets. Thus, if a couple who shares ownership of a possession decides to end their marriage, they may disagree about who has a rightful claim to any jointly titled personal assets and may require court intervention to resolve the dispute. If you intend to seek a divorce or anticipate your spouse will, it is in your best interest to consult a lawyer to discuss what measures you can take to protect your financial interests as these matters can be complex. The seasoned Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group are skilled at handling divorce cases involving complex division of assets. If we represent you, we will fight to help you strive for the best outcome available.Property Ownership Under Texas Law
Texas is one of the few states where property acquired by either spouse during a marriage is considered community property. There are some exceptions, such as property clearly defined as separate property, obtained via descent, devise, or gift, or owned by either spouse prior to the marriage. A party that disputes that an asset constitutes community property must prove that it is separate property via clear and convincing evidence.
The Texas Family Code that defines property division in a divorce does not differentiate between real and personal property. In other words, both real estate and assets like cars, art, and even pets may be considered community property. If the title to an asset is in both spouses’ names, it arguably constitutes community property, and it will be difficult for either spouse to prove otherwise.Dealing with Jointly Titled Personal Property in a Divorce
Under Texas law, all community property is subject to division in a manner that the judge deems just and fair. In other words, it does not have to be distributed in an equal manner, but in a way that the judge considers appropriate under the circumstances. A judge will typically consider factors such as each spouse’s separate assets and income, earning potential, education, and the length of the marriage in determining how property should be divided.
Most personal property, like furniture, artwork, and jewelry, cannot be split between two people. As such, in cases in which a couple jointly owns an asset, a judge may award the asset to one party. In some instances, the judge will deem it appropriate to grant the other spouse a greater portion of other property to compensate for the loss of the value of a jointly owned property. In other cases, a judge may choose to order the sale of the property and a division of the funds produced from the sale. Regardless of whether jointly titled personal property is divided or granted to one spouse, it is critical that it is valued accurately. It is prudent, therefore, to obtain an independent appraisal to determine how much a jointly tilted asset is worth.
Sometimes, there may be debt associated with a jointly titled personal asset, like a car payment. As jointly owned property is typically considered community property, the debt will likely be deemed community debt as well. Thus, the judge will need to take the money owed on an asset into consideration when determining its value and how it should be distributed.Speak to a Trusted Attorney in Dallas
Dividing property in a divorce can be an arduous process, but it is vital for people ending their marriage to understand their rights with regard to the distribution of assets. If you are contemplating ending your marriage, the attorneys of McClure Law Group can inform you of your options and help you to pursue a fair and efficient resolution. Our primary office is located in Dallas, and we can also meet people for consultations at our Collin County office in Plano. We frequently help people dissolve their marriages in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Richardson, Garland, McKinney, Irving, and Frisco. We also help people with other family law issues in cities throughout Dallas, Rockwall, Denton, Grayson, Collin, and Tarrant Counties. You can contact us at 214.692.8200 or via our form online to set up a consultation.