If you are facing a divorce, an important component is the division of your community property, which includes all those assets that you and your spouse acquired over the course of your marriage. In Texas, these assets are intended to be divided equitably, which translates to fairly in relation to the circumstances involved, but you may be wondering which circumstances apply and how. The fact is that the division of community property can quickly become a hot-button item in divorce, but an experienced Round Rock divorce attorney can help.
The Primary Factors
There are wide-ranging primary factors that help guide the division of community property in Texas.
The number of children you share, any special health or educational needs they may have, and whom they live with primarily can factor into the division of marital assets. The court recognizes how expensive raising children is and takes primary custody into consideration.
Each spouse’s employability will be factored into the division of community property. If one of you is a high-powered executive and the other gave up his or her own career to raise the children, take care of the home, and support the other in his or her employment endeavors, this fact will not be lost in the decision-making process.
Ability to Pay
A spouse with considerable assets of his or her own will not be considered in as significant need as a spouse who is nearly penniless. In the end, the court is attempting to balance marital assets in a fair manner, and each spouse’s personal financial standing will play a role.
The younger the spouse, the more earning potential behind him or her – and the shorter the marriage is likely to have been. Because age can tip the balance regarding the ability to earn into the future, it can play a determinative role in the division of community property.
Debts and Relationships to Creditors
While your separate debts can play a role in the division of your community property, the court will take the creditor and his or her relationship with the indebted spouse into consideration before making such determinations. If, for example, your ex owes a considerable sum to his or her parents, the court is likely to weigh this far less heavily than debt that is owed to a bank.
Generally, both parties’ legal fees are paid out of community property, which means the legal fees incurred in your divorce can affect the overall amount of community property there is to be divided.
Additional factors that will play a role include:
Whether fault on the part of either party played led to the divorce
Whether either party attempted to hide assets (or any other form of financial fraud)
The length of your marriage
The relative health of each of you