Dividing assets in a divorce can be one of the most complicated steps in the process. Divorcing spouses can clash when it comes to determining who gets what, especially in contentious divorces. Parties can also be confused about the legal process and their rights. To alleviate some of these concerns and obstacles, you should understand how property division works in Texas and reach out to a Family Lawyer for a consultation before proceeding.
Texas is one of the few states with community property laws. These laws presume that all assets and debts accumulated by either person during a marriage are deemed community property. It will be up to a spouse to rebut the community property laws for any property the deem their separate estate. Under these circumstances, community property will generally be split between spouses upon divorce. However, not all property is community property. Property and debts that one person owned before the marriage can be separate property, as can any gifts or inheritance given to an individual. Separate property is typically exempt from division, and stays with the owner in the event of divorce.
Who gets what?
If you are considering divorce, you can expect to keep separate property and divide community property, unless otherwise stipulated in a prenuptial agreement. In many cases, parties divide the estate equally. This is often the case when both people have similar financial resources. However, there are situations where dividing property 50/50 is not appropriate. For instance, if one person is guilty of marital misconduct, the party who did not engage in misconduct could receive more than 50 percent of the estate.
It can be relatively simple to cash out a bank account and give half to each person, but it is not always wise or feasible to split property in this manner. For instance, physically dividing collections, homes and vehicles can be difficult or impossible, and could result in costly losses. Under these circumstances, you may agree to (or the courts may order you to) keep property intact and use other assets to make up the difference. For instance, if one person will keep an expensive car, he or she may take on a larger share of community debts or receive less money from a retirement plan to keep distribution balanced.
Having experienced legal counsel is valuable in determining your estate and protecting your interest.