Complex Property Issues


Texas Complex Property Issues

For divorcing spouses with assets, debts, and property holdings, the dissolution of marriage by divorce or death can create a multitude of complicated financial issues.   How well your attorney understands the law, and applies the facts of your unique situation will affect your assets.  Gary Kollmeier regularly represents clients in divorce proceedings and probate proceedings where businesses, family partnerships, real property, retirement benefits, investment portfolios, and established estate plans are involved.  In Texas divorce cases there are two types of property, community property and separate property.   In addition to the problem of determining the characterization of property, there are equitable and reimbursement claims that can be made from one marital estate to the other, or from Separate to Community.

Many divorcing couples have a hard time reaching an agreement about how to divide their property because of the great confusion related to characterization and valuation issues in Texas divorces.   Because the fair division of property depends on the unique character of your assets and debts, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney for expert assistance if you anticipate the division of property is likely to be an issue of controversy in your divorce.

The firm will work with you to understand and evaluate the character and value of your estate assets to ensure that you will be able to develop a fair and equitable property distribution agreement.   Our goal is to make sure that you receive your fair share of the assets, while at the same time being mindful of value fluctuations and tax implication of various proposed divisions.

Sometimes in complex divorce cases, there is a need for hiring other Texas professionals who can provide beneficial services.  These professionals may include:  accountants, property appraisers, business valuation experts, tax specialists, tax planners, and financial planners. We also employ a team approach to insure that you are being treated fairly and making wise financial decisions.   The potential value of outside consulting professionals should be discussed with your attorney to determine if the benefits outweigh the costs involved.   Many times, clients can determine the value, either actual or personal in various assets, and can reach a settlement without the need for extensive litigation or discovery during the divorce process.

Additionally, in any divorce proceeding, an analysis needs to be undertaken by the attorney and the client to determine the budget that will be initially proposed for legal services and the use of outside professionals.   The cost of representation should be in line with the goals of the client and the total value of the marital estate to be divided.
The firm regularly assists clients with financial matters, including:

  • Asset Valuation
  • Debt Valuation
  • Valuation of Professional Licenses
  • Ownership and Contractual Issues
  • Family-Owned Businesses
  • Valuation of Stock Options and deferred compensation benefits
  • Valuation of Retirement and Employer Benefits, (Pensions & 401K's and other qualified plans)
  • Business Valuations
  • Insurance issue: Life, Health, Property and Casualty
  • Real Estate Transactions, Residential, Ranch and Commercial valuation
  • Oil and Gas interests and royalty determination and valuation
  • Intellectual property issues, Copyrights and Patents
  • Tax Implications of settlement options and division of retirement plans

Qualified Retirement Plans

A retirement plan qualified under the Internal Revenue Code and other applicable law that provides for specific rules and regulation related to the invested sums.  There are usually a participant, a plan administrator, and a specific statute that regulate each plan.  Qualified Retirement Plans usually cannot be divided without special court orders.   Usually these orders are the result of some type of divorce proceeds or some specific collection processes related to alimony, child support or court ordered property divisions.   The title of the order usually required is “Qualified Domestic Relations Orders.”

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)

A federal statute called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) (ERISA)

governs most retirement plans. To divide a retirement plan upon divorce, a court must sign a domestic relations order. Once the Plan Administrator of the retirement plan approves the domestic relations order, it becomes a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

If the divorce decree involves a partition of a Qualified Retirement Plan, usually there is a need for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).   In the absence of a QDRO, a court cannot divide retirement benefits, even if the divorce decree provides otherwise.   The QDRO divides employee benefits earned by a ““participant”” (the person whose job gives the benefits) and shows what percentage or specific amount is awarded to the ““alternate payee”” (the spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of the participant who receives the benefits).   Usually plans are described as either “Defined Benefit Plans,” or “Defined Contribution Plans.”   Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) is also a form of a qualified plan, however, usually there is not a need for a QDRO for division of the accounts.

The firm will either draft the QDRO for you or procure the assistance of a QDRO specialist to assist in drafting the correct QDRO for each specific application.    In addition to the drafting of the QDRO, concern needs to be given to the tax implications of any property division related to the division of retirement or employer benefits.  Types of plans that can be divided include Military Retirement, Teacher Retirement, Civil Service Retirement, Railroad Retirements, 401(k) plans, 403(b), etc.

Get Started - Schedule an Appointment

Please call and schedule an appointment for a consultation.   An in-depth interview usually takes at least one to two hours to explore and understand the dynamics of a client's situation and explore practical options and resolutions to legal issues. The normal cost of an initial consultation is only $175.00. --Please contact us for an appointment.


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