One of the most complicated aspects of a divorce is dividing assets and property between spouses. Different states use different means of assessing property distribution. Which property distribution model does Texas follow? The attorneys at Hargrave Law, PC, want to help you understand how Texas law dictates property division and how the law could impact your assets in a divorce.
What Is a Community Property State?
There are generally two different systems for property division in a divorce: community property and equitable division. Texas is one of only a handful of states that subscribes to the community property method of dividing property and assets. In a community property state, all income and property acquired during a marriage is labeled community property and belongs to both spouses equally. Therefore, during a divorce, community property is divided equally between spouses.
Examples of community property can include:
- Real estate
- Retirement accounts
- Bank accounts
- Household goods
Businesses or business interests may also be considered community property in Texas and are subject to division. If the business was developed and grew during a couple’s marriage, it is generally assumed that there is a community property interest that the court must address. Often a spouse or their attorney will hire an accountant to appraise the value of the business. That appraisal can then be used in court to help determine how to distribute the asset.
In a community property state, it does not matter whose name is on the title of an asset. If you purchased a home during your marriage, even if a home is in your name only, it will generally be considered community property.
How Is Community Property Divided in Texas?
Texas courts have discretion over how to distribute community property fairly between spouses. In a community property system, a court will divide all property and assets in a “just and right” manner. Typically, it will take special circumstances for a court to distribute community property in a manner that is not equal. If a spouse is a primary caregiver for the couple’s children, or there is an earning disparity between spouses, assets may not be divided straight down the middle.
Other circumstances that a court may consider when dividing property between spouses include:
- Fault for the divorce
- Income of each spouse
- Education level of each spouse
- Custody arrangements
- Each spouse’s age and health
- Future employability of each spouse
Dividing Separate Property
Not all property in Texas is considered community property. In some cases, property acquired during the marriage can remain separate property. Separate property cannot be divided during a divorce. The property remains the property of the spouse who owns it. Examples of property or assets that can be categorized as separate property include:
- Personal Injury Settlement
Property or assets acquired by an individual before marriage may also be considered separate property. If a partner can prove the asset was obtained before marriage, that asset can generally remain in the hands of the original owner, and a portion cannot be awarded to a spouse.
Contact an Experienced Texas Divorce Attorney Immediately
Distributing assets in a divorce can be complicated. If you want what is fair, connect with an experienced Texas divorce attorney at Hargrave Law, PC. We know that going through a divorce can be stressful. We want to help you move through the process with as little conflict and anxiety as possible.
Contact our Texas office today for a confidential legal consultation. Our team can review your situation and provide you with personalized legal advice. Don’t delay. Call 817-282-0679 today and let us get started working for you.