In Texas, the division of marital property when couples divorce is crucial to future financial security. It is beneficial when two people can agree on the division of assets. But sometimes, an agreement may be difficult, and you may be entitled to more property than you realize.
Finding help in preparing for life after divorce can make all the difference to the outcome when you work with a compassionate Texas divorce attorney.
Two Classifications of Property
Property in Texas is defined as either separate property or community property. Commingling is a term used to describe the mixing of a spouse’s individual property with the properties of the other spouse. Commingling can be complex to understand and complicate the division of assets in a divorce.
Before you married, you acquired properties or assets considered separate property. But separate property can quickly become less clear over the years.
For instance, you may have owned a home before marriage, but marital funds were used to make house payments. Because your spouse contributed toward the home’s mortgage, they may seek reimbursement for their contributions.
Additionally, it is a good practice to place any monetary gifts or inheritance you received before marriage in a separate account if you plan to keep it as separate property, or it risks becoming community property.
Any property or earnings you and your spouse gained during your marriage is community property regardless of who contributed more money or made payments and whose name appears on the contracts or accounts. The only items exempt from this are personal gifts, an inheritance, or a settlement from personal injury. The courts in Texas will divide community property in a way that it deems fair and proper.
Below are some of the community properties that must be divided during the dissolution of the marriage.
- Checking and savings account balances, despite being joint or single
- Retirement account contributions made from the date the marriage began
- Any income earned by either spouse
- Any real estate, including the home, purchased during the marriage
- Any automobiles or motorized equipment such as a boat, despite whose name is listed on the title
How Assets are Divided in Texas
A court is not required to consider equality in the division of assets in a divorce in Texas. As previously mentioned, a court will determine what is just and right. There are many situations to consider that an attorney looking out for your best interests can help with.
What may a court consider when determining the division of assets or community property?
- Child custody
- A child’s unique needs or considerations
- Has fault been established
- Both spouses’ earning potential
- Educational benefits and experience of each spouse
Dividing Debt in Texas Divorces
Not only do couples acquire assets in a marriage, but they can also amass debt. This debt is also considered community property. The division may not be equal, but rather as the court sees fit.
For example, when community property, such as a home, is awarded to a spouse and a mortgage still exists in both names, the creditor can still require the other spouse to be responsible for the debt even if they no longer live in or own the home.
Experience in Texas Property Division
If you and your spouse can not agree on the terms of property division in divorce, the resources of a divorce attorney with experience in community property laws can be priceless. Whether you have lots of assets or have acquired minimally throughout the marriage, Evans Family Law Group considers your future one of the most important assets you have. They will work to secure assets that benefit you moving forward.