When couples divorce, typically the two major assets are the family home and the retirement accounts and benefits. But while it is definitely important to get your share of those assets, it’s equally important not to leave valuable resources and assets on the negotiation table.
This sometimes occurs because one spouse is unaware of the true value of some of the community property assets. Such is often the case where one spouse was a collector of items that can be difficult to valuate, e.g. rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. Keep in mind that just because you have no idea what an Eddie Van Halen guitar pick sells for on eBay doesn’t detract from its inherent value to collectors.
But the more arcane collectibles aside, let’s examine some of the other community property assets to which you may not be aware you’re entitled:
Cemetery plots. If you and your spouse bought side-by-side plots, it’s doubtful that you’ll want to spend eternity lying next to one another now. Still, those plots have value, and you can get your share of their worth.
Country club memberships. So what if you don’t golf? That is a significant asset you might want to preserve to retain your social status in a group or to provide access to athletic and recreational activities for your kids, for instance.
Pets. To you, they are family, but to the courts they are just another possession, and ownership is subject to division of assets. If you love your pet, make sure that you fight to keep it.
Intellectual property. Even if the copyrights, royalties, patents or trademarks failed to generate much income during the ill-fated marriage, this doesn’t preclude their future value increasing dramatically.
When is separate property no longer separate?
When you have commingled property, is the short answer. Here’s how that might work. Let’s say your husband received an inheritance in his name only from his deceased aunt. As such, that is his separate property and not subject to the community property laws of the state of Texas.
But if your husband deposited all or a portion of the inheritance into a joint bank account, that effectively makes that money to be part of the community and you can get half in the divorce.
The takeaway here is that there are often many undivided assets that have significant value. Don’t walk away from your marriage with less than you deserve. Fight for your right to a fair divorce settlement.