What is Inventory and Appraisement in Texas Divorce?
Today, we're talking about inventory and appraisement, as it relates to divorces in Texas. And one of the things that always comes up in a family law case is what is separate property? Do you own it? If you do, one thing you have to know is that you have to ask that it be confirmed as your separate property.
Real life example of why that's so critical, was a case I was on in Texas courts, about six or seven years ago that was set for jury trial. A couple out in the west part of the state had no separate property estate. They'd been married for many years and had some property they've accumulated together. There was some contribution by her to his separate property estate.
This husband had a significant separate property estate. He had a couple of collector's cars, a home that he owned before the marriage that was paid off. And my opponent had not specifically asked for the confirmation of separate parts.
If we had put 12 jurors in the box, that could have been a life-changer for that client. That means that the jury would have only been able to consider the joint estates. The judge would have only been able to consider that that property fell under the presumption, that it was community property. So separate property is a big deal.
You've got to think about all your gifts & inheritances. For example some old 1974 Harley Davidson super glide motorcycle that you've had for forever. That's your separate property. And if your wife came into the marriage with her Lexus hard top convertible that's her separate property. Even if y'all have always kept it.
So the other thing about specific property, is there's some inception of title things for property. That is specific to that like real property, like land like automobiles. So if it was purchased before the marriage there in itself is evidence of the inception of title. Which means you've got an argument that it's completely separate property and it should be confirmed as your separate property. So you must disclose it in your inventory. And you must specifically ask in your argument that your separate property be confirmed right now.
Another thing to be considered is financial inheritances. If one spouse brings in an inheritance and you use that money to buy an asset, it is still separate property money. You may have an issue where you need to trace that money. The purchase becomes traceable to the separate property asset. The asset will be traced back to the income from the gift or the inheritance, and that needs to be reimbursed.
So you need to list that, especially if it was solely purchased or funded with that separate property inheritance from either spouse. That way a claim can be made on to either reimburse or confirm that investment example.
So remember all property in Texas is community property unless you ask for it to be specifically divided. Then the process will start of going through and proving separation by tracing inception of title, evidence, things of that nature.
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