Skillern Firm

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Texas is a community property state and this means that once a couple gets married, from that point onwards, all assets acquired by either party are classified as community property and are owned by both parties equally. When it comes to divorce proceedings, this can become a tricky and complex issue to navigate, especially in a marriage that has lasted decades.

With emotions already running high, this can end up being a point of contention that leads to a breakdown in communication. Ultimately, this means that you will end up spending more time and energy while you attempt to come to an amicable agreement. This is when it is essential to seek the help of a skilled Katy divorce asset division law firm. They will be able to use the tools of mediation, and negotiation, as well as their experience in dealing with similar cases, to advise you on the best way to divide your assets.

Here at Skillern Firm, we have been dealing with divorce proceedings and family law matters for over 50 years collectively. With our stellar approach to the attorney-client relationship and our team of skilled divorce lawyers, each trained in the art of mediation and negotiation, we can help with all family law matters.

Call us today at (936) 213-8479 and speak to one of our skilled Katy, TX divorce lawyers!  

The Difference Between Community Property and Separate Property

Katy, TX is governed by the same property laws as the rest of Texas. This means that all property and investment assets, as well as any income acquired by either spouse during the duration of their marriage, will be classified as jointly owned community property. However, Texas is different from most community property states in that the Judge involved has the ability to split all community property in an equitable manner. This does not always mean 50/50. If the Judge feels that one spouse deserves a higher percentage of the split, they have the power to award it.

If one spouse is the higher earner, is well educated, in good health, and has a stable career and the other spouse is less educated and has given up their career for the marriage or the children, the Judge may award them more in the split of marital property division process. Any property that was owned by one spouse before they were married and any assets that were gifted via inheritance are usually classified as separate property and will remain in that spouse’s sole possession. This also applies to any money won through compensation damages. You will need to prove, with firm evidence, that your assets fall under the above categories if you want to claim that they are separate property during the division of marital property. 

It takes experience and skill to determine accurately, what assets are community property and which assets classify as separate property, and to then divide that in a fair and reasonable manner. Most spouses will struggle to do this on their own which is why we highly recommend seeking the help of a skilled divorce lawyer, one with experience in community property state law and property division. The process of property division requires an in-depth analysis of the entirety of your marital property and estate. At Skillern Firm, our Katy divorce attorneys have been through this divorce process with numerous clients before, giving us a depth of knowledge and a wealth of experience.

Factors That Impact Marital Property Division

It is rare that spouses see eye to eye when it comes to dividing the marital estate they have built over the period of their marriage. Higher earning spouses may feel they have the right to more of the estate as they provided more funds. Spouses that gave up their careers to stay at home and look after their children might feel they deserve more due to their sacrifice. When the court looks at the division of marital assets it will consider a number of different factors, including:

  • Each spouse’s individual health, age, and employability.
  • The period of time that the marriage lasted.
  • Each spouse’s individual ability to support themselves financially after the divorce.
  • Whether or not one spouse committed acts that broke down the marriage.

Marital estate property will always be considered jointly owned unless it was acquired before the marriage by one of the parties or was the result of a gift, inheritance, or compensation for a personal injury claim. There may be further complications when couples live together in a property that is classified as separate property. If together, you spent a large amount of money while you were married on renovating or improving a separate asset property, it is important to know that you are entitled to your share of those costs. Your Katy divorce attorneys will be able to track down the costs and expenditure of the renovations and help you seek your share.

You can also file a reimbursement claim if your spouse has used shared funds in order to pay off debts or renovate a separate property that they own. Also, If one spouse has sacrificed a lot of time, effort, and money in order to help the other spouse build or continue to grow a business that is classified as separate, you may also be entitled to seek reimbursement for your time and money.

Skillern Firm Practice Areas

As a law firm dedicated to family law and divorce matters we deal with:

Child Custody

Child custody is often one of the more difficult topics that spouses have to deal with when it comes to the divorce process. This is the area that has the highest potential to cause a breakdown in communications. At Skillern Firm, we pride ourselves on our attorneys and their ability to bring spouses together through mediation and negotiation. We will remind both parties that the important matter is to create an agreement that has the child’s best interests at its core.

This can open up discussions again and create a space where both parties are able to make decisions without allowing tempers and emotions to cloud their judgment. We will always aim to create an agreement that allows both parents access to the child unless there are strong reasons against doing so. Studies have shown that children have the best chances of healthy development when they have access to both parents.

Child Support

When people enter into a marriage and have a child together, they agree to cover all of the financial, emotional, and physical needs of that child between them. When the marriage ends, your child still has those needs, and as parents, you must still meet them between the two of you. That means that if you have sacrificed your earning potential or your career in order to look after your child, and you end up with custody, you may need some financial support to ensure that the children’s needs are still being met.

Modification of Order

While court orders are usually final, they can be modified under the right circumstances later down the line. Your situation may change and you may find it impossible to pay child support, for example, if you have become disabled, or have been involved in an accident and have lost your job. You may also want the order changed as you have evidence that your ex-spouse is a danger to your children. This may be the case if they are violent or you know they have been drinking excessively or taking drugs while taking care of them.

Mothers’ and Fathers’ Rights

Under Texas law, your gender gives you no preferential treatment. Being a child’s mother will not give you a stronger chance of winning custody and being the father will not reduce your chances. Instead, the courts will always look at factors like your previous involvement and financial stability, as well as how well you have met the needs of the child up until now. In family law, the children always come first. The Judge and any good attorney will always look to protect the needs of the children involved.

Recovery of Attorney Fees

If you are entering the divorce process and your spouse has a much larger pool of funding to support their legal representation, they may attempt to leverage this to win through attrition, causing  you to run out of money. This is a vindictive tactic and if you and your attorney can prove to the courts that this is happening, they may force your spouse to pay your attorney fees.

Spousal Support

Leaving a marriage after you have given up your career in order to look after your children can be scary, especially if that has made you financially reliant on your spouse and their earnings. Spousal support, or alimony, was designed to help spouses remain financially stable after they have left a marriage.

Katy Property Division FAQ

Q: What happens to a business we built together?

A: When both you and your spouse have built a business together, you are going to need a skilled divorce attorney to help you decide how to proceed. If it reaches litigation, they will consider how much time and money each spouse has invested and how instrumental each spouse has been. It gets even more complex when there are multiple parties involved in the business.

The courts will look at whether or not each spouse wants to continue their role in the business. If one spouse does not, the courts will usually resolve the problem via determining a compensation figure for removing them from the business. If both parties want to continue, they will have to work together on an amicable resolution that allows this. If neither party wants to continue, the business and its assets might be sold off and the costs split in what the courts find to be a fair and reasonable split.

Q: What happens if we agree amicably on how to divide assets?

A: If you are fortunate enough that both you and your spouse agree on how you want to divide the assets, you are going to save a lot of time and energy. In these cases, your Katy divorce lawyer will help you file a Final Decree of Divorce and present it in a manner most likely to be accepted by the courts.

Q: What happens to our debt?

When you get married, usually, all debt that either party incurs during the marriage is classified as community property. There are several exceptions to this rule. One exception may be that the debt is solely assigned in one party’s name for their sole purpose. Even if the debt is only in one spouse’s name, if the debt was for the purpose of both parties, it will become a shared debt in the eyes of the court. Debts for education, like student loans, usually stay sole debts assigned to one spouse.

Q: What happens to savings, pensions, and employment benefits?

A: When it comes to pensions and retirement funds, they are usually considered community property when either party has added to them during the marriage. This means that one spouse may be entitled to seek a percentage of those benefits and savings.

Contact a Katy Divorce Attorney at Skillern Firm Today

Here at Skillern Firm, we deal with legal separation, divorce proceedings, child support, spousal support, child custody, and all other family matters on a daily basis.Our Katy divorce lawyers can help you and your former spouse move through the divorce case with as little friction as possible, enabling you both to move on to a bright new future. Every Skillern Firm family attorney is skilled and experienced in mediation and negotiation, as well as the complexities of Texas divorce and family law. We can help you understand how “equitable division” works in Texas and how your case is going to be viewed in court.

Call us today at (936) 213-8479 to arrange an initial consultation where one of our skilled Katy divorce lawyers can tell you what to expect and begin guiding you through the process.