When there is little or no marital property, no children, no issues of spousal maintenance, amicable spouses can usually obtain a quick divorce by having an attorney draft a divorce agreement and having a judge approve it. Most divorces, however, are quite different and far more complex. The typical Texas divorce involves a union of many years with considerable marital property, both personal property and real estate, children, family businesses, large or concealed debts, trust funds, real estate in other states, joint and separate accounts, investments, insurance, pensions, and other assets. In these complex situations, the parties often cannot divide their property on their own and, therefore, may require court involvement for its ultimate division. It’s important to hire an experienced divorce attorney to help with division of property in Texas.
Community & Separate Property
Division of property in Texas occurs under community property rules. However, Texas, unlike other community property states, does not have to divide this community property owned by the parties equally. The court is only required to divide the property in a “just and right” manner. Any separate property is retained by the spouse who owns it. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you tell the difference.
The first dispute in contested cases is regarding which marital assets are community property. Usually, all earnings acquired during marriage and everything obtained with those earnings are community property. All debts incurred during the marriage, unless the creditor was specifically looking to the separate property of one spouse for payment, are obligations of the community property estate.
Generally, separate property will be:
- Gifts and inheritance given just to that spouse;
- Personal injury awards received by that spouse, except for any award for loss of earnings;
- Proceeds of a pension that vested before marriage;
- Properties purchased with the separate funds of a spouse remain that spouse’s separate property; and/or
- A business owned by one spouse before the marriage remains his or her separate property during the marriage, although a claim for reimbursement by the community estate may arise under certain circumstances.
Conflict may arise when separate property is mixed together with community property. Sometimes, one spouse may be able to identify which portion of the property is separate. One example of this is when a house is owned before marriage and continuing mortgage payments are made throughout the marriage. Otherwise, if the separate property becomes mixed with the community property, and the two cannot be distinguished, the entire asset becomes community property.
Property To Be Divided
Certain kinds of property continue to create controversy during a divorce, even under the division rules of the community property system. Divorcing couples need to be aware of these assets and the issues their division may present. Some of the most troublesome assets include:
- Family Home
- Family-Owned Businesses.
In each case, complexities of ownership can complicate a divorce.
Consult with an experienced divorce attorney for property division in Texas
Many couples have a difficult time reaching an agreement about how to divide their property. The complexity of assets and liabilities affect the approach from the beginning. It is important to consult with an experienced divorce attorney in Texas such as Brian McNamara, about the best plan to deal with the division of assets and debts from the outset. Call his divorce law firm in Kingwood at 281-358-3444.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.