When property is separated for the purposes of a divorce in Texas, generally anything that was acquired during the marriage is considered to be jointly owned, or community property. The matter of heirlooms can be a particularly sensitive matter. The following are some suggestions for protecting a family heirloom, but it will be in your best interests to work with strong College Station divorce lawyers to do so.
Separating an Heirloom from other Assets
Whether or not an asset can be kept separate in a divorce depends upon a few factors:
- Did you acquire the asset before the marriage?
- Did you spouse help increase its value?
- Was the asset a gift or inheritance given solely to you during the marriage?
Heirlooms are often given to a family member, and so it is generally easier to keep them separate than certain other types of assets. Indeed, Texas family courts will generally recognize the unique value of an heirloom to a family member. However, it is a good idea to take steps to avoid commingling of an heirloom. Commingling means that the asset becomes a part of the general assets that are to be divided. One example of this is a wedding ring given to you by an elder family member. If you give your spouse a wedding ring that is a family heirloom, it might be more difficult to get it back.
If You Fear Your Spouse Will Damage the Heirloom
There are steps you can take if you are concerned that your spouse will damage or destroy an heirloom. You may try to take possession of it, but obviously only do so with consent of the other party. Also, you can take photos and date them to ensure that an item is not hidden, damaged or destroyed. Further, you can work with your attorney to obtain a temporary restraining order. This document prohibits any such hiding or damaging. While in anger a divorcing spouse may still damage an heirloom, this gives you legal grounds to file a violation of a court order.
For Legal Help with Your Divorce
It is very important that you work with College Station divorce lawyers when so that your rights are protected. This includes return of a family heirloom that is important to you. Call Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.