If you are getting divorced in Texas, you may be wondering whether it makes sense to sell your home or to try to keep that property in a divorce settlement or as part of the division of community property. The decision of whether to sell your home can be a difficult one, especially if you have lived in the house for years or decades and especially if you have minor children from the marriage who consider the house to be their home.
However, when one of the parties keeps the house, financial consequences can arise that the parties might not be initially considering. In order to decide whether it makes sense to consider selling your home, we want to say more about how property gets divided in a Texas divorce and how the costs associated with keeping a home might mean and how selling it makes more sense in the long run.
Texas is a Community Property State
Texas is a community property state. What does this mean and how does it apply to a decision about keeping your home in your divorce? Under the Texas Family Code, when a couple decides to get divorced, their property is classified as either community property or separate property. Almost all property acquired after the date of the marriage will be classified as community property (with only a handful of exceptions). All community property will get divided between the spouses in the divorce process. Separate property does not get divided. For nearly all married couples, their house – or at least a large portion of the equity in the house – will be classified as community property. Accordingly, the house (or the equity in it) will be divided between the spouses in the divorce.
If one of the spouses really wants to keep the house, this means that spouse will have to give up other property in order to retain the home, since its value would otherwise be distributed between the spouses. This decision could mean giving up liquid assets, which could help that spouse in the short term, as well as other assets the spouse may want to keep in the divorce. In other words, when considering whether it makes sense to sell the house, one of the first questions you will need to ask yourself is whether you are willing to give up other property to keep the house. If not, you should likely consider selling.
Financial Consequences of Keeping the House
If you are wondering whether it makes sense to sell your house, you should also be thinking about the financial consequences of keeping it. While other community property assets will not require any money for maintenance or upkeep, a house is different. Owning a house requires regular upkeep, as well as occasional emergency expenses. For example, if a pipe bursts, a homeowner can be looking at a very high upfront cost for repairs.
Houses also have tax costs. Thus, it is important for spouses to consider whether keeping an expensive home with higher taxes makes sense for just one of the spouses.
Contact a Dallas Divorce Attorney
If you have questions about whether to sell your house or general inquiries about the division of community property, a Dallas divorce lawyer at our firm can help. Contact Orsinger, Nelson, Downing and Anderson, LLP for assistance.