Understanding Property Division in Texas
In Texas, during a divorce, your property is divided into categories called community property and separate property under equitable distribution. Since Texas uses equitable distribution to separate property, this means you and your spouse won’t technically see an even distribution of property, but a fair distribution of property.
To get a better understanding of how property division works and when to divide your property during your divorce, keep reading for more information.
What is Equitable Distribution?
Equitable distribution means the assets you acquired during your marriage can be categorized as community property that gets distributed fairly, but not always equally 50/50.
A lot of couples get their information about what to expect during divorce through word-of-mouth, leading them to believe Texas law requires a 50/50 division of assets and property. Contrary to popular belief, during a divorce, your property would be divided by Family Code Title 1 based on what is “just and right” for you and your spouse.
The process of equitable distribution makes it possible for divorcing couples to receive a fair share based on their contributions before and during their marriage. A judge will award you and your partner community and separate property once both parties have worked with their attorneys to make a list of what they believe they should receive in the divorce.
What is Community Property?
Community property is considered to be all property and debt that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage, except separate property. All income and property you and your spouse acquired during your marriage belong to both of you.
In Texas, a judge will assume that any property, money earned, or debt you had during your marriage would be equally owned by you and your spouse. If you prefer another possible outcome, we suggest that you and your attorney work together to make a list of the property you want to keep separate and prove that it shouldn’t be shared with your partner.
There are certain circumstances when your property can be considered community property under equitable distribution, including:
You and your spouse’s education.
Your future employment.
The income gap between you and your spouse.
If your divorce is a fault divorce.
More factors can impact how your property is distributed, for example, if you have a property that you believe should be separate from your spouse.
What is Separate Property?
Separate property is a personal property you owned before the marriage and has no connection to your spouse.
In order to claim your property as separate property, you and your spouse would need to agree on what to keep separate and prove that your property is separate with convincing evidence like receipts for large purchases like jewelry, or deeds to real estate for example.
Separate property can include the following:
Property that was given to you as a gift or inheritance.
The debt you accumulated before your marriage.
Gains from investments you made before your marriage.
In most cases, assets are considered to be community property, unless you state otherwise. It’s always best to have a trustworthy attorney to help you categorize what you believe should be your personal, separate property.
When is the Best Time to Divide Property?
A lot of people don’t consider this, but property division should be discussed during the separation period before your divorce begins. This gives you time to consult with a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can help you discover options in your divorce case moving forward.
Waiting too late into the divorce process can cost you not only valuable time, but you could potentially put your assets and property at risk to be shared with your ex. Once your divorce is finalized, it would be hard, or in some cases, no longer possible to request certain assets and property to be divided.
Southlake Divorce Attorney Michelle Purvis
Property division in Texas is a complicated process and depending on the number of assets and property you own, hiring a trusted attorney would be highly recommended to help you through the process. Michelle Purvis Law has successfully worked with numerous couples to help them through their divorces, while handling their cases with care and compassion.
Schedule a consultation today at (817) 809-8199 to begin the process of filing for your divorce.