During your marriage, you acquire property and other assets that mean a lot to you. Whether it be the marital home, car, or vacation properties, these are things that you worked hard as a family to attain. However, in the event of a divorce, this property will have to undergo a division process. Dividing this marital or community property, according to Texas, can be stressful.
While many may believe that the courts simply strive for a 50/50 split, that is not the case. Michelle Purvis Law wants to help explain what community property means and how it is divided after a divorce.
Community Property State
Texas is one of nine community property states in America. This means that the courts presume that both spouses own most property acquired during the marriage. On the other hand, Texas also identifies separate property within marriages, which means that the property belongs to one spouse only. Categorizing property into separate or community is a crucial part of the divorce process.
Community Property Defined
Unless a spouse can prove that a property is solely theirs, it will likely be categorized as community property. Potential examples of community property include:
Real estate property
Home furnishings or other items
Bank and investment accounts
Credit card debt
Student loan debt
Vehicles and any car payments
Even if you were the one to pay for specific items or property primarily, it would still be presumed as community property in texas courts, subject to the division process.
Division of Community Property
It is a common misconception that property is simply split 50/50, right down the middle. While this might seem like a fair division, this is not the case. Sometimes individuals spend more on community property than others, meaning that a 50/50 split is not truly equitable. The Texas courts order that property division is “just and right,” meaning that it should be equitable depending on the couple’s unique circumstances. Specific things that the judge may take into consideration include:
How much each spouse earns
The health of each spouse
Who has custody of the children
Education level of each spouse
Each spouse’s employability
Who is at fault for the end of the marriage
By considering these factors, the courts can divide property in a “just and right” way. However, the courts do not necessarily have to make the decisions for themselves. There are other alternatives to dividing community property after divorce.
Courts Aren’t The Only Option
If spouses can get along, the courts may not have to oversee the division process. If you want to maintain control over the division of property, you and your ex-spouse can negotiate a settlement agreement. If you both have a hard time reaching this agreement, mediation can offer assistance. While mediators cannot provide professional legal advice, they can help navigate challenging discussions such as property division.
The benefit to this process is that each party has some form of control in dividing property. For example, each spouse may go into the divorce already knowing what community property they would like to maintain. However, in the event that mediation does not resolve the division process, the courts can still involve themselves. It is important to highlight that mediation does not work for everyone and that each spouse has to be willing to communicate and work together.
How Can Michelle Purvis Help?
Michelle Purvis is an experienced property division attorney in Texas who understands community property and the division process. She can help guide you through determining your separate property and help understand the fair and equitable distribution of community assets.
Call Michelle today at (817) 809-8199 to speak with her about your concerns regarding property division.