Property Division In Divorce
Anyone who is considering divorce should understand how property division is decided in a divorce case in Texas. As the Texas Family Code makes clear, Texas is a community property state. Accordingly, in a Texas divorce, property owned by the spouses will need to be classified as community or separate property, and then the court will consider various factors in determining how community property is divided. Depending upon the circumstances of the divorce case, it may be possible for the spouses to reach an agreement through mediation in which they determine how property division will occur.
When you have questions or concerns about how property division will be decided in a divorce in Texas, it is important to seek advice from a Dallas divorce attorney. In the meantime, we want to provide you with more information that can help you to understand how property division works under Texas law.
Classification of Community and Separate Property
Married couples in Texas typically have both separate property and community property. Community property is property that belongs to the marriage (the “community”), and it will be divided in a divorce. The first step in determining how property division will be decided is classifying separate and community property appropriately. In general, community property will be divided in “a manner that the court deems just and right.”
How can you tell the difference between community and separate property? Community property usually includes any property acquired after the date of the marriage unless it was an inheritance left to only one spouse, was acquired with one of the spouse’s separate assets, was a gift to only one of the spouses, was a recovery for personal injuries, or was expressly excluded in a prenuptial agreement. Any property acquired before the marriage is separate property, though earnings on that property are usually community property. Otherwise, the court will divide most other property acquired after the date of the marriage.
Factors in Dividing Community Property
What does a “just and right” division of property look like in Texas? In deciding how to divide community property in a manner that is just and right, the court can consider various factors, such as:
- Ages and health of the spouses
- Education and employability of the spouses
- Length of the marriage
- Amount of separate property owned by each spouse
- Children from the marriage and costs associated with child-rearing
- Fault in the breakup of the marriage
- Fraud on the community (i.e., one of the spouses intentionally used or wasted community assets)
Dividing Community Property through Divorce Mediation
In some divorce cases, it may be possible for the spouses to play a much more significant role in determining how property division is decided if they go through divorce mediation. In mediation, the parties may be able to reach an agreement about how community property will be distributed between them.
Seek Advice from a Texas Property Division Attorney
Whether you have concerns about the classification of community and separate property, or you need advice about how community property may be distributed in your divorce, one of our experienced Texas divorce attorneys can assist you. Out of 100,000 lawyers statewide, our firm has the greatest number of attorneys named to Thomson Reuters’ list of Top 100 Super Lawyers in Texas.
We have years of experience assisting clients in a wide variety of divorce matters, and we can speak with you today about your case. Contact Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP to learn more about working with one of our lawyers in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, or San Antonio.