Texas law presumes any property and income obtained by either spouse during a marriage equally belongs to both. Your ex is entitled to an equitable share of assets considered community property, no matter whose name is on the title.
Community Property laws in Texas
Texas is a community property state. That means each spouse has equal ownership over property acquired during the marriage. According to Texas Family Code 7.001, courts divide property between a divorcing couple in a just and right, or equitable, manner.
Understanding what equitable means in a divorce is crucial. Dividing property equitably doesn’t necessarily mean equally. You might not receive 50 percent of a particular asset if the court determines your ex is entitled to a higher share. The court will review various factors and decide what is most equitable while splitting property between you and your ex.
Types of Property in a Texas Divorce
There are two types of property in a marriage – separate and community.
Community property is property either spouse acquires while married, such as:
- Life insurance policies
- Motor vehicles
- Marital home
- Checking and savings accounts
- Contributions to a pension, 401(k), or another retirement plan
- Unemployment compensation
- Income from a job, including wages, salaries, overtime, and tips
Separate property is all property either spouse acquires before marriage or receives while married by descent, gift, or devise. Common examples of separate property include:
- Personal injury compensation, except a financial recovery for lost earning capacity
- Contributions to a retirement account before getting married
- A home purchase before the marriage
- Inheritance received from a relative
- Personal items gifted by a parent or someone other than the spouse
Your ex might be entitled to a reimbursement claim if you utilized community property to improve other property. For example, if you bought a house before getting married and used money from a joint checking account to pay the mortgage, your ex could file a claim to request reimbursement of the total value of the mortgage payments.
Factors Affecting Property Division
The courts consider multiple factors to decide what’s just and right while dividing property between spouses in a divorce, such as:
- Each spouse’s income
- Whether the assets are community or separate property
- Duration of the marriage
- Experience and education affecting each person’s future employment and earning capacity
- Age of both spouses
- Both party’s abilities to support themselves financially
- Each person’s physical and mental health
- Tax consequences of dividing particular property
- If the couple shares children, whether one person has sole custody
- Obligations either spouse has toward the other, such as alimony or child support
- Either person’s eligibility to file a reimbursement claim
- Amount of debt each spouse has
Understanding Eligibility for Maintenance
You might worry about whether your ex is entitled to alimony if you supported them financially or made more money than they did while you were married. However, the court only awards maintenance under specific circumstances.
According to Texas Family Code § 8.051, the court can order maintenance to the spouse seeking it if they will have insufficient property to meet their reasonable needs after dissolving the marriage and:
- The supporting spouse received deferred adjudication or was convicted of a crime constituting an act of family violence against the spouse seeking maintenance or their child within two years of the filed suit to dissolve the marriage or during the pending lawsuit; or
- The spouse seeking maintenance:
- Has an incapacitating mental or physical disability that prevents them from earning sufficient income to meet their minimum reasonable needs,
- Was married to the other spouse for at least ten years and can’t earn sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs, or
- Is the custodial parent of a child the spouses share who requires personal supervision and substantial care and prevents the parent from earning sufficient income to meet their minimum reasonable needs.
Contact a Bedford Divorce Lawyer Now
Hargrave Law, PC has provided dependable and aggressive representation to Bedford, TX, clients since 1999. We know the challenges you face while going through a divorce. Negotiations can turn ugly and lead to complicated and expensive courtroom battles.
You should not handle your case alone. We will protect your rights and fight for what’s rightfully yours. Call us at 817-282-0679 today for a confidential consultation if you want help with your divorce.