Texas Property Division Law describes the laws governing property division under the Texas courts. Texas is a community property state. What this means is that all property acquired by either the husband, or the wife during the course of a marriage is owned equally by both parties. In Court, during the divorce proceedings, a judge will split all property between the two as equally as possible.” The Court will base these decisions on equitable considerations and on a case-by-case basis. In most cases, courts do their best to divide the property in a manner that is fair and equal (50/50).
However, under some specific circumstances, a spouse may petition the Court for a larger distribution of the community property, which may result in that spouse receiving greater than 50% of the community assets. The percentage breakdown can be as high as 60/40 or in some extreme cases, possibly even 65/35. This uneven distribution may be deemed appropriate under specific circumstances. Those circumstances may include situations where one spouse is exclusively and clearly at fault for the dissolve of the marriage or one spouse has engaged in acts of cruelty toward the other spouse. This may also be appropriate if one spouse is disabled and unable to adequately support himself/herself, one spouse has significantly less education and employability than the other spouse or one spouse has considerably less earning power than the other spouse does.
Only community property is subject to division in a Texas divorce. Therefore, each spouse is entitled to keep 100% of their separate property following the divorce. Separate property, is different from community property in that it generally includes property owned by one spouse before the marriage, gifts and inheritances given just to one spouse, personal injury awards received by that spouse, and the proceeds of a pension that vested (enabling the pension holder to access the funds) before the date of marriage. Property purchased with a spouse’s separate funds will also remain that spouse’s separate property. A business owned by a spouse prior to marriage remains that spouse’s separate property as well although a portion of the value of the business may be considered community property if the business grew, or increased in value, during the course of the marriage, or if both spouses worked at the business. Finally, the commingling of separate and community property will usually result in the conversion of the separate property (in whole or in part) to community property.
A common complication that arises during the process of dividing community property in a divorce is the Court’s decision on how to handle the home, especially when children are involved. Usually, when children are involved, the party given primary custody of the children will keep the home. If there is any equity in the house at the time it is awarded, the spouse that does not receive the house is still entitled to half of that equity that exists in the property at the time of divorce. If there are no children involved, and neither spouse has any superior legal rights to the property, the Court will decide who gets the house at trial based on the evidence presented during the proceedings. The Court will look closely at various criteria including the needs of the parties, financial strength of the parties, fault in the divorce and other relevant information when deciding who gets the home.
When choosing a Texas attorney to handle your property division issues, it is critical to have an experienced professional in your corner who understands how to present facts clearly to the Court in a manner that is effective in accurately representing your best interest. Most seasoned Texas attorneys are able to maximize their clients’ entitlement to marital property through a thorough understanding of the Texas Family Code and solid knowledge of what it takes to bend the judge’s ear in their client’s favor. You will want to interview attorneys in your area before deciding which one can most effectively meet your legal needs.
Author: cmyarbrough76This author has published 3 articles so far. More info about the author is coming soon.