The Divorce Process in El Paso, Texas: From Beginning to End

The Inventory

One important aspect of any divorce case in El Paso is the division of property and debt. The El Paso divorce courts have an obligation to ensure that the divorce decrees they sign dispose of all property and debt, whether the estate in question is small or large.

In order to divide what you have, you first have to identify what you have. If your case is contested, you may be required to prepare a formal inventory of your assets (things that you own) and your liabilities (things that you owe). In some instances, you may be required to file this inventory with the papers of the court. In other cases, you may just be required to serve a copy of the inventory on your spouse or spouse's lawyer.

In any case, it is always a good idea to prepare an inventory in any divorce case. Here is a list of some of the information you should gather to produce your inventory:

  • Your House: You'll need the legal description, an estimate of its current market value, the payoff balance on the mortgage, the name of the mortgage lender and the account number.
  • Bank Accounts: You'll need the name of the banks, the account numbers and the current balances. Same goes for IRA's, brokerage accounts, 401(k)'s, CD's and other investment accounts.
  • Life Insurance Policies: Get the policy numbers, the cash surrender value if it is a whole life policy, the beneficiaries and the balance of any loans against the policy.
  • Cars: Get the make, model, year, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), payoff balance of any car loans, names of the lenders and the account numbers. Also get the current Blue Book value. You'll also need to tell your lawyer which names appear on the title and loan documents.
  • Personal Property: Things such as clothing and furniture can be grouped and valued by large categories (e.g., "household furniture") or by room. Individual items with a high value, such as jewelry or valuable collectibles, should be listed individually.
  • Your Debts: Other than the mortgage, car loans and insurance policy loans or 401(k) loans, you'll need to list all other debts by identifying the name of the lender, the account number and the payoff amount.

As you can see, creating a meaningful inventory requires a lot of leg work. It's best to get and stay as organized as you can for your divorce, especially if it becomes contested.

Jim K. Jopling
Attorney at Law
747 East San Antonio, Suite 103
El Paso, Texas 79912

(915) 541-6099

Toll Free Facsimile:
(866) 864-6854