Property is an important issue in any divorce and its division plays a major part with determining a spouse’s financial future. A fair and reasonable asset division decree in a Texas divorce can help ease the post-divorce transition and determine whether a spouse can secure a sound financial future.
Texas is a community property state. Its courts assume that all property and income that a spouse acquired during marriage belongs equally to both spouses and should be divided equally. These include physical assets such as homes, vehicles and jewelry. All debts accrued during marriage are also evenly divided.
When dividing property, courts will consider age, health, earning potential, spousal support and which spouse will be the children’s primary caregiver. Other factors include the community estate’s size, the amount of each spouse’s assets, potential inheritance to each spouse, spouse’s gifts to an outside romantic interest, property holdings outside Texas and any fault for the divorce,
Courts must also decide assets that are separate property belonging to one spouse. This includes property obtained before marriage and, if there is clear evidence, certain property acquired during marriage such as gifts.
Retirement plans, such as 401(k) and individual retirement account, pose special complications. Both spouses intended to rely on these plans, even obtained by one spouse, during their retirement. Now they must plan for funding separate retirements.
These retirement accounts are community property, if acquired during marriage, even if one spouse contributed their salary to an IRA or 401(k). But these assets are not automatically divided equally. Allocation may be negotiated by the spouses or ordered by the court. A qualified domestic relations order will have to be submitted to the plans’ administrators.
A family law attorney can help present options for securing a financial future after divorce. They can also represent a spouse’s interests in mediation, settlement negotiations and court hearings.