You’re embroiled in a contentious divorce with your spouse. Neither of you is on speaking terms, and even when you do talk directly to each other or through your respective attorneys, you can’t find common ground with anything. Everything you want, they also want — that includes the house, and neither of you is willing to back off. What happens in this situation? Do you have to find common ground, or can a judge decide who gets the house in a divorce?
A judge can absolutely decide who gets the house in your divorce. In fact, deciding on a fair and equitable distribution of assets is a big part of their job — especially when it comes to what is likely your largest investment. Sometimes, divorcing spouses can amicably agree on many of these and other important matters. But there are just as many instances where the judge steps in and does it for them.
Community vs. Separate Property
The first thing the Court must do when deciding who gets the house in a divorce is whether or not it is community or separate property. Texas classifies itself as a community property state when it comes to family law. This means property acquired during your marriage (with a few exceptions) is presumed to be equally owned by both spouses and must be divided when the marriage ends.
The Texas Family Code defines separate property as any assets you owned before the marriage, acquired during the marriage as a gift from a third party or an inheritance, or were awarded during your marriage as damages from a personal injury case.
These items cannot be divided, and it is up to you to prove that specific property should be classified as separate.
For the most part, anything else is classified as community property and subject to community property guidelines.
What this all means is that if the house actually belongs to your husband because he owned it before you got married, then he would be awarded the property in the divorce, with the caveat of potential reimbursement claims to the community. If you bought it together during the marriage, the judge would have a bigger decision to make.
What Factors Does a Judge Consider When Determining Who Gets the House?
If the house is owned by both spouses, it’s not realistic to assume the court will divide the property 50-50. In reality, it is the court’s responsibility to divide everything that has been classified as community property in a manner that is “just and right” for both parties.
Unless spouses come together and mutually agree to specific property division terms, the court will base its decision on several factors:
- Differences in each spouse’s earnings
- The length of the marriage
- The nature of the property being divided
- Who has custody over the children
- Who is at fault for the marriage ending
- Health of each spouse
Even when basing its decision on the factors above, the Court’s vision of what is just and right may not match yours. Our mission is to provide clients with long-range perspectives and outstanding legal advice that help them rebuild their families after marital dissolution.
When divorce is the answer, our mission is to provide our clients with long-range perspectives and outstanding legal advice that help them rebuild their families after marital dissolution. Christman Daniell Attorneys’ goal is to protect our client’s interests, equip them for a difficult journey, and deliver skilled and expert legal advocacy and advice.
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Looking for expert family law services in Collin County, Texas? Christman Daniell Attorneys is your premier choice. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the legal landscape in cities like Allen, Anna, Blue Ridge, Carrollton, Celina, Colleyville, Dallas, Fairview, Farmersville, Frisco, Garland, Josephine, Lavon, Lowry Crossing, Lucas, McKinney, Melissa, Murphy, Nevada, New Hope, Parker, Plano, Princeton, Prosper, Richardson, Royse City, Sachse, Saint Paul, Van Alstyne, Weston, and Wylie, our skilled team is dedicated to helping families navigate complex legal matters. Whether it’s divorce, child custody, or adoption, trust Christman Daniell Attorneys to provide compassionate and effective representation for all your family law needs throughout Collin County.
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