Anyone who is planning to file for divorce in Dallas should learn more about asset division and how assets are divided in divorce in Texas. When it comes to the division of assets in a divorce, Texas is a “community property” state, which is distinct from an “equitable distribution” state.
In most community property states, the court divides assets and debts from a marriage in a 50/50 split between the spouses, but the Texas Family Code requires courts to handle asset division in Texas a bit differently. Our Dallas asset division lawyers want to provide you with more information so that you can be prepared for the division of community assets in your Texas divorce.
Classification of Separate and Community Assets
Before a Texas court can even begin the process of dividing assets in your divorce, the court will first need to classify all assets owned by you and your spouse as separate property or community property. According to the Texas Family Code, separate assets include any assets you owned prior to the date of your marriage, any assets you acquired during your marriage as a gift from a third party or through an inheritance, and any assets you acquired during your marriage as a damages award in a personal injury case.
Nearly all other assets, unless they have been expressly excluded from the possibility of division through a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement, will be classified as community property. The Texas Family Code defines community property, which includes both assets and debts, as “the property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during the marriage.”
You should also know that there is a presumption that any assets possessed by either spouse at the time of the divorce case are community property unless the spouse can prove otherwise. To prove that your assets should be classified as separate property, you must meet a high burden of proof: you must show that your assets are separate property by the standard of “clear and convincing evidence.”
Division of Community Assets in a Manner “Just and Right”
Any assets that are classified as community property will be divided “in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage,” according to the Texas Family Code.
To be clear, although Texas is a community property state, assets are not simply split 50/50 between the spouses but rather are distributed between them in a way that is “just and right” based on the particular circumstances of the couple. In some marriages, a 50/50 split might be considered “just and right” by the court.
What factors will the court consider in deciding what a “just and right” division of community assets looks like? The following are some examples of factors the court might consider:
- Length of the marriage
- Health of the spouses
- Education of the spouses
- Size of the separate estates (or assets) of the spouses
- Differences in the spouses’ earning capacities
- Custody of minor children from the marriage
- Business opportunities for each of the spouses
- Nature of the assets being divided
- Contributions of one spouse to the home and to raising children during the marriage
- Fault for the divorce
Contact Our Dallas Asset Division Attorneys
If you have questions about asset division in your Texas divorce, an experienced Dallas asset division attorney at our firm can help. Contact Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, and Anderson, LLP for more information.