Combining property and assets is very common when two people join together in marriage. This may be anything from combining student loans to merging checking and saving accounts. Or, it could be more complicated, such as uniting ownership of real estate, vehicles, businesses, credit cards, retirement accounts and investments.
No one anticipates divorce from the beginning. But if it happens, the couple must separate the debts and assets they had individually before the marriage, as well as what they’ve acquired during the union. This can be quite confusing for both parties.
The Facts About Property Division & Divorce
During divorce proceedings, the courts place property in two different categories.
- Divorce & Separate Property
- In legal terms, separate property is anything owned by the individuals before they became married. That means that if one party owned real estate before the marriage, it belongs to that party in full.
- Divorce & Marital Property
- The legal definition for marital property is anything debts or assets that were acquired during the marriage. These assets and debts are known as community property. Most states try to divide marital property as fairly as possible so both parties can still have financial stability when the divorce is final.
Dividing Community Property During Texas Divorces
Like many others, Texas is a community property state. Yet, the state’s rules are a bit different. When dividing up property during a Texas divorce, the judge is allowed to rule in a way that seems “just and right.” Therefore, in many cases, the property is not divided up 50/50.
Some factors that tip these scales include child custody, earnings capabilities and time the other spouse has been out of the workforce. Texas judges also aim to keep the kids in their homes. So custodial parents often get the family homes in their divorce settlements.
Retirement plans tend to get split 50/50 no matter who earned them. Pension plans and investment accounts are generally divided. Judges usually assume that if one party was a stay-at-home parent, their efforts made it possible for the other spouse to make such achievements without having to worry about the kids and household issues.
There are challenges when it comes to dividing up family owned businesses during divorces. A business appraiser or CPA is required to determine the value of the venture. One spouse might continue managing the business. Both parties may choose to sell. Either way, this is a tricky one for family law judges.
Even when there are no children involved, dividing up property during a divorce can be extremely stressful. Many spouses are left feeling angry about not getting what they wanted, or what they believe they deserve, in their divorce settlements.
For the best results possible during your Texas divorce, you need an experienced Houston property division lawyer to help fight for you. That way, you can be confident that there’s a professional on your team fighting to keep you financially secure after your divorce.
Contact us about representing you with your Texas property division case today.