Texas is a “community property” state, which means that inheritance and individual property brought into the marriage remains yours, while everything acquired during the marriage by either party belongs to both spouses.
Community property includes:
- Earnings and real estate properties acquired by either spouse while married;
- Any property that is not “separate property” owned by either spouse during the divorce process (in this case, clear proof of the “separate property” status has to be presented).
Any valuable asset falls under the “Community property” category, such as:
- Real property;
- Individual retirement arrangements (IRAs);
- Personal property;
- Income (including rental income);
- Stocks and bonds;
- 401(k) plans;
- Certificates of deposit;
- Life insurance;
- Patents and copyright royalties.
Property and debt division process
Property and debt division is made in three steps:
- Identifying the wealth and determining which are the “community” and the “separate” assets;
- Estimating the value of the assets and of the debt, when financial experts’ appraisals can be used;
- Splitting the “community” property between the two spouses.
In a divorce case, “separate property” cannot be awarded to the other spouse. This includes any assets obtained prior to marriage, including gifts and inherited properties.
Property division factors
After the court establishes which assets are “Community property,” the property is divided considering various factors, as it follows:
- the market value;
- tax consequences;
- each spouse’s contribution;
- emotional value;
- nature of the properties;
- which parent is in charge of raising the children resulted from the marriage;
- fault grounds (adultery, substance abuse, mental illness);
- both present and future earning capabilities of both parties;
- health and education level of both parties;
- personal needs.
During this phase, before the final decision, the court can review the evidence and ask for further documents or can request testimony.
Division of debt
In a divorce, debts are also divided between the two spouses, under the same “just and right” principle. Even if in some extreme cases, one of the parties ends up with the asset and the other one with the obligation to pay the debt associated with that asset, a divorce trial cannot change the contractual obligations between the creditors and the spouses.
In other words, the creditor’s ability to collect the debt is not affected by the divorce decree.
In Texas, if a marriage lasted more than 10 years, one of the spouses can receive “alimony” if:
- He or she lacks earning ability due to mental or physical illness;
- He or she provides home care for a physically or mentally disabled child.
The amount owed is 20 percent of the payee’s income but not more than $5,000 per month. If the case doesn’t refer to a disability (and no duration limit applies), spousal maintenance is awarded for a specific amount of time, as it follows:
- 5 years for couples married between 10 and 20 years;
- 7 years for marriages that lasted between 20 and 30 years;
- Maximum 10 years for couples that remained married for more than 30 years.
Adultery’s impact on alimony
Under Texas law, adultery is a frequent factor that impacts the decision regarding the alimony. Such financial maintenance can be denied to a divorce party who has committed adultery. If adultery led to divorce, the court may also take it into consideration when making a decision regarding the alimony.
If you consider divorce following your spouse’s adultery, you need all the legal support you can get. Contact us today for a free initial consultation, and we will make sure your case is handled fast and with professionalism.
How we help you obtain a fair share
Texas marital property division often results in time-consuming actions, and only the experience of a knowledgeable lawyer can quickly navigate the property division issues of a divorce and guarantee you will end up with a fair share.
For years, we’ve provided expert legal advice on division of property and debt to numerous clients based in Texas. By hiring us, you’ll also benefit from valuable financial professionals’ input that will contribute to determining the real value of your assets.
The Dieye Firm is committed to ensure legal representation of the highest standards to clients from Houston, Brazoria County, Galveston, Fort Bend, and Harris. We will:
- Analyze your financial situation;
- Put together the necessary documents;
- Explain all parts of the legal process.
Our lawyers will protect you from the burden of paying excessive or unnecessary debts following the divorce.