Complex Property Division
Offering exceptional guidance in negotiating the division of complex community estates.
Complex community property involves assets such as closely held business interests, real estate investments, stock options, restricted stock units, retirement accounts, and trusts.
When complex assets are at stake, you need an attorney who has a wealth of knowledge in business valuation and the division of community property. The Law Office of Amy K. Gehm has been Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2002 with over 20 years of experience guiding our clients through the complicated framework of complex property division.
Texas is a “Community Property” state. This means that the property you have accumulated together during your marriage is presumed to be the property of both spouses. One of the most crucial elements in a divorce is differentiating community property from separate property.
Although all assets owned at the end of a marriage are presumed to be community property, this presumption can be overcome by showing the court by clear and convincing evidence that the property is separate. Property acquired by the husband or the wife before marriage is considered separate property. Additionally, inheritances and gifts given to a spouse during marriage are generally considered separate property. We have successfully assisted clients with protecting their separate property assets, which includes their pre-marriage assets, inheritances, and gifts received during a marriage. This must be done by documentation and frequently involves tracing experts. Typically, testimony alone is not sufficient to prove that the property is separate property.
There are many factors that go into a judge’s decision regarding how to divide community property and debts, including the earning income potential of each spouse, and whether or not there are children of the marriage. Essentially, the court will divide property and debts in a manner that it deems “just and right,” taking into account the circumstances in the marriage.
In particular, we have extensive experience in the following areas:
- Closely Held Business interests — If you or your spouse has an interest in a closely held business such as limited liability companies, liability partnerships, S corporations, trusts, or other entities, we work with business valuation experts to determine the value of the business and the portion which will be divided as community property.
- Real estate — Whether it is your marital home, rental properties, or a commercial investment property, we will assess the value of any type of residential or commercial real estate. In some cases, we work with appraisers and other real estate experts to determine the fair market value of your real property for division in your divorce.
- Stock options and restricted stock units — Stock options and restricted stock units have become an increasingly common form of employee compensation. However, determining the value of an option to purchase stock in the future can be complicated and the characterization of stock options and restricted stock units as community property or separate property must be calculated. We frequently utilize financial experts to determine the value of an option and calculate the separate property and community property character of stock options and restricted stock units in your divorce.
- Retirement accounts — Retirement accounts, such as 401(k), 403(b), IRAs, Roth IRAs, federal civil service retirement, pensions, or military retirement are important assets for your financial security. We help you understand the ramifications of the division of retirement accounts and the best solutions to meet your financial goals.
- Trusts — Dividing trust assets or a spouse’s interest in a trust can pose unique problems depending on the type of trust, the trustees of the trust, and the number of beneficiaries. We will thoroughly investigate the value of the trust and the trust assets to determine what portion may be community property in your divorce.
Dividing complex marital estates requires both legal and financial acumen. The Law Office of Amy K. Gehm has been Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2002 and has the legal and financial skills to guide you through the process.