When you file for a divorce, one of your primary concerns will be the manner in which your property is divided. Over the course of your marriage you’ve accumulated a certain amount of assets and debts that must be divided up. You need an experienced attorney to ensure that you receive your fair share.
The Basics of Divorce Property Division in Texas
Texas is a community property state. A presumption exists that all property and income acquired during the marriage is community property and subject to division among spouses when they divorce. A court will attempt to make this division as equitable as possible – known as a “just and right” division. The community presumption exists with regard to debt as well, regardless of which spouse incurred the debt.
In cases where one spouse receives a greater share of marital property, the judge must be convinced there is an overwhelming reason to do so. A judge may take into account certain factors in making the division, such as relative earning power and fault in the divorce, especially in high net worth divorces.
Examples of property division matters include:
- Classification of marital and separate assets and debts
- Real estate and real estate holdings
- Mortgage, loans, taxes
- Credit card debt
- Bank accounts
- Investment portfolios
- Dividends and earnings paid on stock
- Retirement accounts and qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO)
- Tracing property to acquisition
Property that is acquired before the marriage is considered separate property. Separate property is not subject to divorce property division and is unaffected by the divorce, remaining with that spouse.
Division of Property Exceptions and Nuances
Classifications of Separate Property
Certain classifications of property, even if acquired during the marriage, are defined as separate property. These include items such as gifts, inheritances, and personal injury awards.
“Commingled” Community Property
Likewise, separate property can become community property if it becomes “commingled” with community assets during the marriage.
Marital Debt for Non-Marital Purposes
If one spouse causes marital debt or uses marital assets for non-marital purposes, such as acting in spite leading up to a divorce, that spouse can be responsible for the dissipation and be required to reimburse the estate.
In some cases, one spouse may attempt to hide assets – always a bad idea. An experienced division of property divorce attorney can uncover such actions and hold the offender accountable in court.
In many cases spouses can reach agreements on the classification of property through Marital & Prenuptial Agreements. These agreements are the primary method of keeping separate property from becoming community after marriage. These agreements will spell out how property will divided in a divorce. In other cases, spouses can make similar agreements during the mediation process.
Experienced Fort Worth Division of Property Divorce Attorneys
Division of property and debts is a crucial aspect of any divorce. The greater the community estate, the greater the potential for conflict and litigation. It is important to prepare an exhaustive inventory of property and assets. The process can be tedious, but it’s a critical part in developing a comprehensive evaluation of the entire estate.
Our property division divorce attorneys work hard to develop fair and realistic objectives in order to make sure our clients receive a just settlement. In some cases, Divorce Mediation might be the best alternative. Call our Dallas/Fort Worth office today to discuss your property and how we can help. Call (817) 887-9158 or simply fill out our contact form.