When a couple decides to part ways after filing for divorce, there needs to be clear and distinct property division in the divorce decree. Whether it’s about assets, real estate purchased during the marriage, or divorce alimony; Texas courts decide who gets what after granting the divorce. Most couples possess little knowledge on property division in divorce cases in Texas, which is why services such as divorce lawyer free consultation are very helpful in such times. Seeking assistance from family court lawyers helps you understand know how to navigate and what to expect. Continuing the discussion, the blog post discusses common factors that influence property division in Texas divorce cases. Take a look.
Texas is a community property state, which means that most of the property acquired post marriage is presumed to belong to both spouses, and therefore, needs to be divided at dissolution of the marriage. Under Texas law, any property, earnings or debt acquired from the date of marriage to divorce is considered as community property, irrespective of the name on the title or contract, unless it was a gift or awarded as a personal injury or other settlement claim. The only exception is money received to compensate for lost earnings or wages in a personal injury claim, which solely belongs to the victim spouse, with no share for the other spouse. Typical examples of community property include:
- Property or real estate purchased during the marriage
- Contributions to 401 k, pensions, or other retirement amounts from the original date of marriage
- Individual employment income, including tips, bonus, and overtime wages
As the name suggests, separate property is personal property acquired by either spouse before the marriage and is free from division during a divorce. To label property as being personal or a separate asset, both spouses are supposed to back their claims with evidence that the property was acquired before the marriage, failure of which, the court can classify such assets as community property and include them in the division of property. Classical examples of separate property include:
- Gifts including cars, jewellery, or real estate
- Inherited property
- Amount awarded in a personal injury claim, except that meant to compensate earning capacity or lost wages
Note: If an asset or property purchased before marriage has mortgage payments that continue after marriage with any of the community funds, the non-owning spouse has the right to ask for reimbursement.
Factors Governing Property Division
Texas courts follow the “just and right” method for the division of assets, which means there is no certainty regarding 50-50 division. The division of property is equitable, and a number of factors govern the lopsided decision making, including:
Income is a crucial factor when deciding on property division in Texas Divorce cases. The spouse with a lower income or earning potential can expect a larger share of the property after property division is finalized.
Dependence on the Spouse
Texas courts correlate the age of the spouse and length of the marriage to assess their dependence on the other party. Generally, the younger spouse has an edge over the older spouse, as their earning potential may decline with age.
It goes without saying that the spouse with higher qualifications has a greater earning potential, and therefore, Texas courts may favor the other spouse with inferior qualifications during property division.
Fitness levels of both the spouses also influences property division. A healthy spouse has a higher earning potential than one with health issues, as the difference reflects in medical bills and insurance premiums. As a result, a major chunk of the property may go to the spouse struggling with health issues or disability.
Faults such as adultery and cruelty during the marriage are also factored during property division. If one spouse is responsible for the dissolution of the marriage, their partner can be entitled for a larger portion of the property after the divorce is finalized.
Debts and Taxes
The court also considers ongoing debts and individual tax liabilities that result after splitting assets. As the only prerequisite for property division is based on what the court finds to be “just and right”, debt division is equitable and it doesn’t matter who is responsible for acquiring it.
Divorce Lawyer Fee
As a divorce lawyer’s fee is taken from community funds, Texas courts consider which spouse is paying and how much, before deciding on property distribution.
The Bottom Line
Apart from the factors mentioned in the blog post, there are several others that the court may consider when splitting assets during divorce. Most factors are generalities, as every divorce case is unique and judges may have a different take and opinion during the actual divorce hearing. Nonetheless, the fact remains that approaching a divorce lawyer or family court lawyer, helps you navigate the maze and craft a strong case. If you are going through a divorce and confused or anxious about property division, expert lawyers at 123 Divorce Company can help answer your questions and give you guidance. Our team of lawyers possess extensive experience in successfully handling property division cases. Let us help you by filling out our contact form. You can also call us at 214-599-9979.