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Property Division in a Divorce
In some ways, Texas makes dividing the property during your divorce simple. Our state is a community property state, which means a good portion of property is likely to be considered marital property, unless we can show otherwise.
It should be noted, however, that Texas courts don’t simply divide the property 50-50, even if it is considered marital property, so things can then get a little trickier.
The Frisco divorce attorneys at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC are experienced in simple and complex property division during Texas divorces. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
Community property is all of the property that was acquired during the marriage that isn’t separate property. If you own separate property, we will need to prove to the court that it is separate; otherwise, everything — houses, cars, cash, stocks, trusts, jewelry — is presumed to be community property and will be divided according to prevailing legal standards.
Separate property, however, belongs to one spouse and not the other. It is not subject to division in a divorce. In Texas, the court considers the following to be separate property:
- Anything one spouse owned prior to the marriage - For example, a car you owned when you got married is separate, but if you bought the car before the marriage and then made payments using community property cash, such as regular income, it may be considered community property.
- Property received as a gift by only one spouse - This might include a vacation home or cash gift bestowed by a relative who may prefer to avoid probate. Comparatively, if a colleague gives you, for example, a valuable watch, this may be considered compensation or an in-kind gift, depending on what we are able to show.
- Property inherited by only one spouse - Nearly every court in America will uphold the final wishes of a testator (the person writing a will). If you inherit something, it was meant for you.
- Recovery for personal injuries - This includes damages for losses and expenses, except for lost wages, which are considered community property.
As you can see, it can be vital to your wealth and security to work with an experienced divorce attorney who can present a strong case that accurately demonstrates what items are separate property and which ones are not.
“Just and Right” Division
When you divorce, you may be able to come to an agreement with your spouse about property division. Many couples start off this way. However, if something changes, we may be able to work the situation out by communication, mediation or other negotiations with your spouse’s attorney.
Keep in mind, though, that when people divorce, it’s usually because they can’t agree. When the fruits of your life’s work or the security of your future is on the line, you may find that higher stakes mean a judge is the right person to decide property division based on evidence.
In Texas, community property is split according to what the judge thinks is “just and right.” This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s split equally, but equitably based on a variety of factors, including:
- Length of marriage
- Reasons for divorce
- Disparity in earning power
- Contributions to the home
- Custody arrangements
- The health of each spouse
- Future employability
- Other factors you or your spouse present
We will work closely together to gather all the necessary evidence to indicate what the most just and right division should be in your divorce. Contact Nordhaus Walpole, PLLLC today to get started with a divorce attorney who can help you settle property division matters in your divorce.