Going through a divorce is never easy, but without the help of a skilled family law attorney, you could lose much more than just your spouse. One of the most significant issues in a divorce is determining who will keep what property and is one of the most important and usually most contentious parts of the divorce decree.
Therefore, you must understand exactly how this process works to protect yourself and your property.
Community Property Laws in Texas
Texas is a community property state, meaning that all property and earned income acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage belongs to each party equally. Therefore, both spouses must also split this community property in half when they divorce. This also includes all debts acquired by either partner during the marriage and thus split equally.
However, it is essential to note that equally doesn’t necessarily mean that the property will be split 50/50. Instead, the judge in the case will examine the case's unique factors to determine what will be a ‘just and right’ division of community property and debt. Essentially, this will mean that each spouse has an equal net worth of property.
Community vs. Separate Property
Texas considers most property and income acquired during the marriage as joint assets because of the state's community property laws. Therefore, it doesn’t matter which spouse’s name is on the deed or whose income was used to pay for the property. If it was purchased or acquired during the marriage, it is community property.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that all assets are community property. Some exceptions allow spouses to claim some items and assets as separate property. This includes:
- If you owned property before the wedding and kept it separate throughout the marriage;
- If you were individually given money or property as a gift.
- If you inherited property or assets;
- If you received financial compenstation through a personal injury lawsuit or settlement (as long as the money wasn’t used to compensate for the loss of earning capability
Factors that Affect Property Division
There are several instances where the judge will decide on a simple 50/50 split of all community property, but this isn’t always true. A range of different factors may influence the judge’s decision, and ultimately it is up to their discretion to determine what is a ‘just and right’ distribution or property.
Judges can decide upon an unequal split for several reasons. Some factors they might consider when making an unequal split include:
- One spouse was primarily responsible for raising the couple’s children.
- The differences in earning capabilities or disparities in the income of the spouses.
- There are anticipated inheritances.
- The size of each spouse’s separate property.
Additionally, Texas is also one of the few states that allow spouses to file for either a no-fault or a fault divorce. In a fault-based divorce, one spouse is considered primarily at fault for the marriage ending, like in cases involving adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or conviction of a felony. In a fault-based divorce, the judge can decide to make the division of community assets more fair by awarding the non-fault spouse a greater share since they were not at fault for the end of the marriage.
Speak to a San Antonio Property Division Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Rebecca J. Carrillo, we understand just how frustrating and difficult going through a divorce can be, especially when it comes to dividing up your community assets. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re in need of legal representation for your divorce. Our experienced team of attorneys will work hard to help you come up with a fair agreement while protecting your rights and interests.
Speak with the experienced San Antonio divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Rebecca J. Carrillo by calling us today at (210) 405-6623.