About Complex Property Division
In family law, the saying goes that the most complex and difficult business deal most people will ever be involved is divorce. In our practice, our clients are routinely amazed at the monetary sums involved and the disputes which arise. Complex property division can be costly and even clients who live modest lifestyles may be dividing millions of dollars when homes, retirement accounts, and businesses are taken into account. This is at the heart of what is known as complex property division.
The majority of family law firms handle divorce cases with small estates. Few firms have the ability to handle complex property division and Woodfill Law counts itself among the most experienced in this area of the law. We work side by side with real estate professionals, business valuation experts and others to secure a just property division for our clients. Our attorneys can assemble a team of experts in personal finance, wealth management, taxes, and business valuation.
The Complexity of Complex Property Division
The are a number of property considerations in a divorce; and, assets can include but are not limited to:
• Residential, commercial, farm, and ranch real estate
• Oil and gas royalties and other mineral interests
• Employer benefits and retirement plans
• Stock options
• Separate property characterization and tracing
• Deferred compensation plans
• Economic contribution and reimbursement claims
• Insurance issues
• Intellectual property issues, copyrights and patents
Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO
In the state of Texas, the primary tools for a partition of retirement benefits is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO. This order legally divides employee benefits earned by one spouse at his or her place of employment and sets a percentage or dollar amount to be payable to a spouse, former spouse, child or children, or legal dependent.
Writing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO is a complex and technical task that must ultimately be in-line with a number of rules and regulations. The requirements differ quite widely in certain cases, such as corporations, teacher retirement benefits, local, state, and federal employee retirement plans, and military member plans.
What’s more, what are known as Defined Contribution Plans, like 401(k) Plans and Defined Benefit Plans, like pension plans, each has different and complex drafting requirements.
The attorneys at the Woodfill Law Firm are experienced and highly skilled in complex property division of employee benefits.
Separate and Community Property
In the state of Texas, there are two types of property: community property and separate property. The former is the property accumulated during the course of the marriage, except for separate property. Separate property is acquired before the marriage, which includes such things as gifts, inheritance, or personal injury recovery.
We understand that it is very important to have a professional and experienced legal team which can properly categorize and then divide the property into a way that benefits our clients.
Under Texas law, the court will order division of community assets as well as liabilities in a manner it deems just and right. Property that is established as separate by the court will not be part of the division.
The Woodfill Law Firm is expert in characterization and tracing property and have successfully rebutted the presumption of community property as well as established separate property in the interest of our clients.
Farm and Ranch Divisions in Texas
Divorces involving such property as a farm or ranch will have a number of complex considerations to be scrutinized. We have the expertise and the confidence to get our clients the best result for themselves and their property, which often is also a business.
Farm and Ranch Business Operations
Families in the state of Texas which own a farm or ranch typically involved both husband and wife in the day-to-day operations. Other family members might be instrumental, as well. We can accommodate circumstances in which spouses wish to maintain co-ownership after divorce or want to split it in the course of the dissolution process. Regardless of wants, there are a number of issues which generally arise in farm and ranch property which include such things as asset valuation, which is based on several elements:
- Land / Complex Property
- Growing Commodities
- Equipment, trailers and vehicles
- Livestock (horses, cattle, etc.) and their offspring (including frozen semen and embryos)
- Mineral rights when applicable
- Future earnings and possibly showing rights from livestock
These values are typically reached through an expert third party.