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Hiding assets can lead to litigation surrounding property division

The division of property is a very significant aspect of any divorce. In fact, the outcome greatly affects the financial well being of each party. In Texas, courts seek an equitable distribution of property rather than a 50/50 split. Any separate property, meaning anything not acquired throughout the course of the marriage is off limits for division. Community property, all property earned and acquired through the course of the marriage, could be subject to division but a court will look at factors like age, education, financial need and others, to determine how much each party should receive in the division.

Couples can reach a settlement regarding the division of property through mediation but sometimes litigation is necessary. An important component in reaching a settlement is honesty. If either party hides assets, the agreement can be invalid and could need to be litigated again.

This could be the case in the divorce between former Los Angeles Dodgers owner and his ex-wife. The couple dissolved their marriage in 2010 and reached a settlement in which the wife was awarded $131 million. However, she is requesting that the settlement be modified because the Dodgers sold for $2 billion, and her husband estimated the worth to be only $300 million during their long divorce.

The ex-wife feels this was fraudulent, and as such the settlement needs to be revised. The couple is due back in court Nov. 16, where the outcome will likely be decided by a judge. Whether a divorce is occurring in Texas or elsewhere, the division of property can become much more complicated when there are a significant number of assets involved. It is often important to retain experienced legal counsel to ensure a fair and equitable division.

Source: KRIS TV, "Ex-Dodger Owner Back In Divorce Court," Sept. 26, 2012

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