Understanding Property Division In A Texas Divorce
Property division is a critical component of the divorce process. The amount of property you take with you when you leave your marriage will play a major role in your future comfort. For that reason, it is important to understand how property is divided in a divorce.
Texas Is A Community Property State
In Texas, all property acquired during the marriage by either spouse is considered community property. The law requires that it be divided in a manner that is just. It is important to note that just is not the same as equal. While a 50-50 division of property is a possibility, there are factors that may shift the balance. These factors include each spouse’s income and earning capacity, each spouse’s separate property, and child custody and support arrangements.
At the Law Office of Rebecca Anne Gonzalez in San Antonio, my goal is to make certain property is divided in a manner that is truly just based on your circumstances. As your attorney, I will take great care to review every factor, bringing all relevant details to light. I will design a legal strategy designed to get you a fair division of property in your divorce. Depending on the facts of your case, I may be able to help you recover a disproportionate share of the parties’ estate.
With a wealth of experience, I am well-versed in handling complex property division issues, including those that involve:
- The family home, rental real estate and investment real estate
- Investment accounts
- Businesses and business interests
- Retirement benefits
I take great pride in answering all questions about property division.
The Issue Of Separate Property
One of the most important steps to take in the process is to make sure property is characterized correctly, and your separate property is documented and protected.
Separate property is property you acquired prior to marriage, as well as inheritances and gifts. In Texas, all property is presumed to be community property and subject to division until proven otherwise. As your lawyer, I will take great care to sort out your separate property and assist you in gathering the proper documentation to protect it. We will confirm separate property in your final hearing. This can be complex if property has become commingled, but I know the steps that can be taken to make sure you do not lose out on property that should be yours to keep.
Can I Keep A Specific Asset In A Divorce?
You have a certain asset or assets you want to keep. Perhaps it is something big like the family home or something small like an antique. In theory, property division entails a just division of community property. In reality, that can get messy, because many assets cannot simply be split. In some cases, negotiation may involve saying, “You can have the house, but then I’ll get a larger portion of the savings.” But then does all the furniture come with the house? What about all the tools and household maintenance items? Sometimes one question leads to another.
Matters are made more complex because assets can have emotional value beyond their monetary value. The family dog or cat, heirlooms, art and other items are often coveted despite relatively small dollar values. My goal is to help you walk away from your marriage with the items most important to you while also making certain you have what you need to start your new post-divorce life.
Who Decides What Each Asset Is Worth For Property Division Purposes?
A fair division of community property requires first getting an accurate idea of the value of that property. For some assets, getting an accurate value may be relatively easy. For example, you can hire an appraiser to ascertain the value of your home.
Other property may be more challenging to assign a value to, such as a family business. What is a business worth? If the business owns the building it is in, that needs to be looked at as real estate. Then there is the value of all the equipment and inventory owned by the business. But is that all there is to the value of a business? In reality, much more goes into the worth of a business. When appropriate, I bring in business valuation experts to ensure accuracy. My goal is to see that every item subject to division is properly valued before beginning negotiations.
What Factors Do Texas Courts Consider When Dividing Property?
Under the Texas community property model for property division in divorce, all marital assets acquired by either party during the marriage are owned equally by both parties and are thus required to be divided in a manner that is just and equitable.
Even if an investment property is held in only one spouse’s name, if the property was acquired during the marriage, it is considered to be community property and subject to division. The exception to this rule is a property that can be regarded as a separate asset, such as any property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage.
Despite guidelines that are in place to help courts ensure that property divisions are equitable, it is relatively common for a spouse to receive what they feel is an unfair portion of the property after a divorce. It is important to understand the factors that a Texas court may consider in deciding the division of assets in your divorce.
These factors include:
- Each spouse’s ability to support themselves and disparities in earning power
- Duration of the marriage
- Age and health
- Custody of children
- Value of separate property
- Tax consequences
- Fault in the dissolution of the marriage
- Fraud of the community; one of the spouses used or wasted community assets
Distribution of property in a divorce can be confusing and stressful, and the emotional value often isn’t taken into consideration by the courts. My objective is to help you understand the equitable division process and to support you in getting the property you deserve after your divorce.
Keeping Or Moving Out Of The Family Home
Typically, the home is one of the most significant marital assets a divorcing couple has and can’t always be easily split. Alongside a sizeable financial stake, there are reasons to both keep and move out of the family home.
These reasons can include:
- Stability for any children
- The cost of staying or moving
- The need to split marital assets
- Emotional comfort or distress
Your family home is likely to be your most significant asset with the most emotional value attached, and each decision to stay or go is a very personal one.
Consulting an experienced and compassionate attorney can help you navigate any legal repercussions for the smoothest transition possible. I recognize your attachment to your home and am committed to advocating for a resolution that suits your best interests.
Contact Me For A Consultation About Division Of Property
Need an attorney to protect your property during divorce? Contact me today at 210-888-9836 or toll free at 800-823-6321 or, if you prefer, by email. Evening and weekend appointments are available, upon request.