FAQs about the Division of Marital Property in a Texas Divorce
An essential element of every divorce is the fair division of community property (also known as marital property). While this division's basic outline is relatively straightforward, the actual application can quickly become extremely complicated and contentious. However, understanding the basics can help ensure that you remain on the path toward a division of marital property that protects your best interests.
Which Property Will Be Divided?
In a Texas divorce, your marital property refers to those assets (offset by your shared debt) that you acquired together over the years you were married. This property will be divided upon divorce. This property is known as community property (or marital property), and exceptions include any gifts or inheritances given to only one of you, which remain separate property. However, things can get tricky because – while separate property that either of you keeps separate throughout your marriage will remain independent – any increase in value for this separate property will likely be considered marital property. Further, it can be more complicated than you think to keep property separate over many years of marriage (finances tend to blend).
Is It Community Property or Separate Property?
As mentioned, it can be tough to verify that property is indeed separate property. All the property that you own (either together or separately) is presumed by the court to be community property. You must be able to overcome this presumption of the court to prove otherwise. To do so, you will need clear and convincing evidence of the asset's separate nature. Any property identified by the court as the separate property will not be factored into the division of your marital property.
How Will Our Marital Property Be Divided?
The State of Texas requires that all marital property be divided in a just and right manner, which is a somewhat poetic way of saying fair (under the given conditions). When it comes to making this determination, the court has considerable latitude and can take all of the following into consideration:
Fault – If your spouse cheated on you or engaged in domestic violence, it could negatively affect their distribution.
Vastly Different Incomes – If you stayed home to raise children, your spouse likely earns substantially more that you. Your spouse may make significantly more than you, even if you are employed. Your community property division should help rectify this disparity (and you may also be entitled to spousal maintenance or alimony).
High Assets – If your divorce involves high assets, the court will likely adhere more closely to a 50/50 division of your community property.
Wasted Funds – If your spouse is determined to have wasted, attempted to hide or given away martial funds, this fact will likely work against his or her property distribution.
Seek the Professional Legal Counsel of a Resourceful Killeen Family Law Attorney Today
The division of marital property upon divorce can become quite a contentious issue. However, Brett Pritchard, at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an experienced family law attorney who is dedicated to protecting his clients' financial rights. You and your case are important, so please do not hesitate to contact us at 254-501-4040 to learn how we can help today.