Anxiety and divorce go hand-in-hand. Uncertainty about the future, life,
and – of course – property go right along with the whole experience.
Often, people worry about what they can keep or what they will lose, especially
when it comes to the house. What can be done to keep the home in a divorce?
Property Division in Texas
When splitting property in a divorce, Texas uses the “community property
division” model. Community property is any property that was acquired
during the marriage. The combined incomes are considered communal, as
are gifts bought for one another. Anything either party purchased during
the marriage is community property. Separate property includes gifts or
inheritances that a spouse was given from an outside source.
After calculating the net incomes of both parties, Texas splits the assets
of the marriage 50/50 between the former partners. Judges, however, have
a lot of room to determine what a “just and fair” split is
among the divorcees. If one partner didn’t contribute much income,
but they were a stay-at-home parent or the keeper of the home, they may
be entitled to spousal support.
Therefore, a judge may have room to veer off and divide communal assets
in a way that is disproportionate and not a complete 50/50 split. In this
way, judges can actually split the property in a much more “equitable”
and less “equal” way. In a particularly disagreeable divorce,
exes could try to gain one another’s assets. Jim argues that Sally’s
expensive surround sound system needs to be sold off and divided, and
Sally wants a piece of Jim’s jewelry. It’s possible that a
judge could order items such as these to be sold and divided.
How to Keep the Home in a Texas Divorce
There are no surefire, one-size-fits-all solutions for keeping the home
in Texas, but here are some tips that can get someone closer to this goal.
Work it Out with the Partner
Luckily, couples in Texas have the option of dividing assets however they
see fit and submitting their agreement to the court. Some divorces are
ugly, and some are surprisingly amicable. If the couple can work together
and come up with an arrangement that satisfies them both, it is possible
to allow one partner or the other to keep the house without conflict.
Make a Good Case
With the help of a good lawyer, a case can be made for why one person is
entitled to the house over the other. If there are children involved,
for example, and they plan to stay in the home with one parent, that parent
has a pretty good chance of keeping the home.
Judges may decide that a person is entitled to property based on their
contribution to that property. Maybe Sally worked hard, brought in all
the money, and paid off the home. All her energy was put into her job,
and she did very little upkeep on the home. Jim, however, managed the
house. He oversaw all the renovations; he kept the place clean; and he
took care of all the repairs. A case could be made that Jim is entitled
to the home that he loved and nurtured, even though his financial contribution
There are no assured, magical formulas that will secure a home in a divorce.
The situation, on paper, may look like someone has no chance of staying
in their house. However, with the help of a strong lawyer, it is possible
to keep the home in a divorce.
If you have concerns about keeping your home, we can help. Consultations
are free and there’s no risk involved, so call today at (713) 936-2300 or contact us online.