Houston International Property Division Lawyers
Protecting Your Rights & Assets Across Borders
The distribution of assets and liabilities can be one of the most complex divorce-related processes. When couples who own property across borders file for divorce, that international aspect only makes the property division process more complicated. Let our Houston international property division attorneys find the best path forward in your case.
What Property Can Texas Courts Divide?
Most property division disputes feature two types of property:
- Real property. Real property is real estate, or land, and the structures built on the land.
- Personal property generally refers to includes tangible assets such as furniture, vehicles, art objects and other physical possession that are tangible and can be said to have a physical location but can theoretically be moved to another location.
- Financial assets. Financial assets include assets the typically exist on the books and records of financial institutions, such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts employee benefits such as stock options, and retirement benefits that have no physical location.
However, Texas courts may not be able to divide real property owned in other jurisdictions as easily.
Methods of Dividing Internationally Owned Property
If couples want to divide internationally owned property easily, they should consider filing for divorce both in Texas and in the country where other property is located. When parties choose to file for divorce in another country, they can divide real property using that country's divorce laws instead of relying on the Texas Family Code.
However, if parties only want to file for divorce in Texas, the court can claim jurisdiction over parties who own international property and use that to compel the parties to distribute that property equitably.
How the court governs distribution under these conditions depends on the circumstances of the case. For example, let's say the court discovers one party owns $150,000 of real estate in France. They can credit the other party's estate with $150,000 worth of other assets from the divorce to compensate for the international property.
The court can also "compel" parties to divide international property after declaring jurisdiction over them.
You should work with your attorney to identify the best path forward in your case. While filing for divorce in locations you or your spouse hold real property may be the easiest way to handle your case, Texas courts do have specific measures they can take to ensure international property gets equitably distributed among parties.
At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, our Houston international property division attorneys can help you navigate the distribution of international assets and liabilities more easily.
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