During the length of your marriage, many of the aspects of your and your partner’s lives will have mixed. Possessions, bank accounts, debt, and borrowing usually become shared, and until it comes to it, spouses may have never had to think about who will get what if they divorce.
One of the main roles that a family law attorney in Texas will carry out for their clients is to help them through all stages of their divorce, with one of those stages being the division of the marital estate. This is one of the issues that often leads to a high level of conflict when couples divorce.
Texas is a community property estate, which means it follows community property rules. Under community property rules, assets are separated into separate and marital assets. Any property classified as community property will be up for division between the two spouses.
However, Texas follows an equitable split rule. This means that, ultimately, the Judge has the final say on the split. If they determine that one spouse deserves a higher split, they have the power to award that.
Fighting for your fair treatment and making sure your rights are protected, is one of the jobs that your attorney will carry out on your behalf.
Here at The Love DuCote Law Firm, PLLC, we can help you and your spouse decide how to divide your assets without court involvement. This will save you time and money and ensure that the decision is in your hands. Once the court has to be involved, there are additional costs, the process will take a lot longer, and the Judge may divide your assets in a way that neither of you are happy with.
Our property division attorneys understand that every case is unique, and you will likely be going through lots of different emotions right now. This could make it difficult for you and your spouse and when you have to sit down and divide your assets, often, what seems fair to one party, does not seem fair to the other.
This is where your attorney will be able to help. They will begin with negotiation tactics, sitting you and your spouse down and steering your discussions. If the meeting becomes unproductive, they will end the meeting.
If you cannot make progress this way, they may utilize mediation, where you are in different physical locations, and your discussions are carried out by an intermediary.
Only once these methods have been exhausted will it be necessary to fight your case in court. If it gets to this point, you can rest assured knowing that our team of attorneys is skilled in the courtroom and each and every one of them is a fierce litigator.
Call us today at 832-843-1691.
Community Property State Rules – Texas Divorce Law
Texas law follows community property rules. This means the division of property is done equitably after figuring out what is separate and what is community property in the marital estate.
Separate property is the term assigned to the property that is exempt from the equitable division of property. For your property to be classed as separate property, it was either owned by the spouse before the marriage began, or falls under several exemptions. They are:
- Compensation payments.
- Inheritance payments.
A spouse’s separate property is protected, and the other spouse cannot seek a share of any property classed as separate. Some property may also be allocated separate property status if it has been written up that way in a prenuptial agreement.
In a community property state like Texas, all property that has been acquired by either partner of a marriage, from the instance they are legally married, is classed as community property, and this means it is up for equitable division upon divorce.
It is worth remembering that equitable is different from equal. While many marriages will still end up being divided equally, in equitable division states, there is a chance that the Judge will decide differently.
This can be one of the reasons why securing legal representation from an attorney can be so beneficial. By working with your spouse and coming to agreements outside of court, you keep control.
Important Considerations in Personal Property Agreements
Texas law automatically presumes that the property included in the community property is owned by each party equally.
There are certain exceptions that can mean that property that may be classed as community property should be made the sole responsibility of the other spouse, however. If your spouse accrued a serious amount of gambling or credit card debt that is nothing to do with you, you could appeal that their debt should be made their separate property.
Other examples that could influence the Judges’ decisions when it comes to dividing property could include:
- Each spouse’s individual needs and income.
- How much separate property the spouse owns.
- Whether each spouse has additional dependents or children.
- Whether the spouse will take custody of the children.
Complexities of Property Division in Texas
Dividing the property of two people who have lived in a partnership for many years can be an extremely tricky affair. Some assets, in particular, can be complex to value, especially things like investments, retirement accounts, and art and antiques.
Complex asset division is a key component of divorce proceedings. It can be challenging to fairly and equitably divide assets such as self-owned businesses, pensions, investments, debts, trusts, life insurance policies, and offshore properties.
Without proper legal representation, you may not be able to secure the best possible outcome in your divorce. Our experienced attorneys can help you divide these assets and debts fairly while ensuring you are not shortchanged in the process. If your divorce involves high-value assets or hidden assets, our attorneys can leverage their knowledge and experience to get you the best result possible.
How are Assets Divided in a Divorce in Texas? -FAQ
All of the property you owned before you got married to your spouse is classed as separate property. The same is true for any gifts, inheritance, or compensation you have been awarded.
Everything else, including your debts, loans, investments, savings accounts, real estate, vehicles, furniture, and any other goods, are classed as community property unless there is a legal reason to not include them.
Your attorney will be able to help you work through your marital estate, working out what is separate and community property. They will also help you document your separate property to keep it or evidence community property so that it is rightfully included.
No, Texas follows an equitable division rule when it comes to property division, this means it is ultimately up to the Judge to decide what they believe is an equitable split of assets if you require court involvement.
Texas is a no-fault state, meaning there is no requirement to prove that your spouse has done something wrong in order to file for divorce.
Yes, in fact, most family law courts prefer it when two divorcing spouses can come to their own decisions and arrangements without involvement from the court. The court will need to finalize your decree, so it must still be in line with local law.
Your attorney can look over any agreements you and your spouse have come to by yourselves to ensure it will not be refused by the Judge.
The court determines the division of property in a Texas divorce. The court will consider various factors when deciding how to divide the marital property, such as each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, the duration of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, and any other factors deemed relevant by the court. The court will ultimately determine how to divide the marital property based on what it deems to be a fair and equitable division.
Debt is treated in the same way as assets in the divorce. If the debt was acquired over the course of the marriage, then it is subject to just and equitable division, which will often mean an equal split. However, if you can establish that your spouse was solely responsible for the debt, then you may be able to keep it separate so that you are not responsible for it. An attorney can help you evidence your claims if you believe that you should not be liable for the debt.
If you own a business, then it is essential you seek the help of an attorney. Even if you started the business before you were married, if it increased in value during the marriage, or if your spouse contributed to it in any way, then it will be considered community property. You may choose to sell it and give your spouse half. However, there are ways of keeping your business, especially if it earns you money that provides for your family. Your attorney will help you negotiate a settlement and protect your business.
If you believe your spouse may be hiding assets, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can track down assets and will ensure that they are considered in your divorce decree. The court will not look favorably on a spouse that has tried to hide assets and they may lose all rights to them.
Contact a Property Division Lawyer at The Love DuCote Law Firm, LLC Today
How your property is divided will greatly impact your ability to move forward with your life feeling secure and confident. At Love DuCote Law Firm, LLC, our goal is for your transition into your new life to be as easy as possible, and we will fight tirelessly to protect your rights.
Our property division attorneys are prepared to handle even the most complex cases, such as those involving high-value assets, self-owned businesses, offshore assets, or hidden assets.
We will also be there to guide you through any other family law matters that your case involves, such as child custody, child support, and spousal support.
Speak to an experienced property division lawyer in Texas today at 832-843-1691.