There are many tricky aspects in divorce, and sometimes property division
can be more difficult to contend with that others. Couples involved in
long-term marriages can accumulate a large amount of assets during their
time together. Even spouses married for a short period of time can gather
a significant number of properties. If you are ready for a divorce, or
if the divorce process has already begun, it is important that you know
what will happen to your properties and assets.
About the Divorce Process
In the state of Texas, all property gathered and shared in a marriage is
considered communal property. Communal property is owned by both spouses
together, and is therefor susceptible to division in the event of a divorce
or separation. You may seek to obtain a divorce independently, or through
mediation. In either case, both you and your spouse may decide how to
divide your assets in a divorce. However, if you are divorcing through
litigation, the judge overseeing your case will determine how your property
will be divided. The court’s job is to divide all communal property
in a way that is “just and right.” While this means the judge
will look to divide all assets fairly, it does not necessarily mean all
assets will be divided 50/50.
Assets & Properties
Any shared assets can be considered communal property. This often includes
the family home, vehicles, vacation homes, shared accounts, investments,
and sometimes retirement funds. If one spouse runs a business, the business
might also be considered a part of the marriage’s communal property.
Any debts from the marriage can also be divided in the divorce. This may
include personal loans, car loans, credit card debts, and other types
of debts. Student loans may sometimes be included here as well, if the
spouse’s education helped support the marriage in some way.
Factors that Affect Property Division
There are several factors the court will consider when dividing assets
in a divorce. Many of the aspects the court will consider relate to the
role of each spouse in the marriage, and the individual situations of
each spouse. The factors the court will consider may include:
- The incomes of either spouse
- The earning capacity and education of either spouse
- The physical and mental health of either spouse
- Each spouse’s individual properties, assets, debts, and inheritance
The courts in Texas may also consider each spouse’s fault in ending
the marriage. If, for example, one spouse was abusive, or one spouse cheated
on the other, the at-fault spouse might receive fewer assets than the
other. Because of the above issues, the Texas courts may find that dividing
assets fairly does not always mean they are divided evenly.
There are a few other factors that might influence how property is divided
in a divorce. If you shared children, the outcome of child custody could
alter how assets are divided. Also, if one parent is paying child support,
that too could allow for an adjustment in the way assets are divided.
If spousal support, or alimony, is also a factor in the divorce, this
too could influence asset division.
It is important to remember that each divorce is different, and the ways
in which assets may be divided can vary for each couple. For more information
about the division of your assets in divorce, it is important that you
discuss your situation with a family law attorney.
Contact our Houston divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny
to get started.