Texas is a community property state. In lay terms, that means most of the assets and debts you and your spouse accumulated during your marriage (the house, cars, boats, furniture, joint bank accounts, mortgages, etc.) are considered jointly owned. In other words, your home and assets may be just as much theirs as yours, no matters whose name is on the title.
Therefore, the court will need to decide how to divide everything upon your divorce in a way that is “just and right” to both parties while taking stock of what is separate property and what should be classified as community property.
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 your specific property should be classified as separate. For the most part, anything else is classified as community property and subject to community property guidelines.
While the court ultimately decides who gets what, that is not to suggest your role in the process is eliminated.
Courts welcome valid evidence that affects property, asset, and debt division.
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to property division
- Is there a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place?
- Do you understand the assets and debts that you have, including the balances?
- What retirement and/or pension benefits do you currently have?
- Are you entitled to any future assets, such a stock options or bonuses?
- Do you currently own your home?
- Who is on the title of the home?
- Can either party afford to refinance if necessary?
- Who will be responsible for maintaining the property until the divorce is final?
- What are the account balances now vs. when you got married and as of your separation date?
Here are some helpful steps to take when you preparing for a property division
- List out all property, including real and personal, separate and community, as well as whose name it’s in, how and when it was acquired, and if there are any outstanding debts on it.
- List out who you believe should be responsible for making specific bill payments.
- List out all debts and monthly payments.
- List all pensions, IRAs, retirement accounts, and employee benefit accounts, including the type of account, how many there are, when they were opened, and how much each is worth.
- List all bank accounts that you and your spouse have your names on individually, jointly, with each other, and jointly with others. Include how long ago they were opened.
- List each life insurance policy that you both have.
- List all businesses, including the owners, when it was acquired, etc.
When it comes to property division in Texas, it is helpful, when possible, for divorcing spouses to find common ground on many of these important decisions. If not, the court’s version of what is just and right may not match yours. Our mission is to provide our clients with long-range perspectives and outstanding legal advice that help them rebuild their families after marital dissolution. Some cases require aggressive advocacy, where we must deliver the righteous blow of justice, while others require patience, de-escalation, and diplomatic solutions.
At Christman Attorneys, PLLC, some of our primary goals are to protect our client’s interests, equip them for a difficult journey, and deliver skilled and expert legal advocacy and advice.
Please Call Christman Attorneys, PLLC, for Your Legal Needs Today!
Please consult a family law attorney for advice about your individual situation. The material on this website and in this or any blog article we publish are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. The attorneys at Christman Attorneys, PLLC, believe in tailoring legal advice and solutions to your own personal circumstances.
We have an unwavering commitment to helping our clients at each stage of their legal situation.