Are you wondering how your joint property is going to be divided during your Texas divorce? Owning property together can complicate matters a little, but highly trained divorce lawyers in Houston, TX can help you get through this circumstance as smoothly as possible. If you have any questions regarding property division during a divorce in Texas, then you may find some of them answered below.
Ask Divorce Lawyers in Houston, TX: How Does a Court Divide Joint Property in a Divorce?
Texas is a community property jurisdiction. This means that any property you and your spouse obtained together is considered equally owned by both of you during the divorce.
It’s always your best bet to contact a top divorce lawyer in Houston to help you determine how you’re going to split up your community property. You can discuss how you’d like to split everything, but at the end of the day, the judge will make the final decision.
What Is Considered Community Property in Texas?
Community property doesn’t literally have to be property. Basically, anything that you or your spouse acquired during the marriage is considered community property. Some examples of community property in Texas divorces include:
- Physical property such as a family home, holiday home, or retail building
- Clothing and accessories
- Bank accounts
Is Debt Considered Community Property in Texas?
Debt is usually considered community property in Texas. This includes rent owed, mortgage payments, credit card debt, and personal property loans. However, sometimes a debt may be considered separate property. If you are still paying back a loan you took out before your marriage, then this could be considered separate property.
There are other instances where forms of property are considered separate in Texas, too, and you can ask your attorney about them if needed.
How Does the Judge Divide Community Property?
As you and your spouse own all community property 50-50, you may think that you can just split everything equally. However, this isn’t the case. Texas is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution means the judge is going to divide your property in a way they consider “just and right.”
Therefore, your community property and other assets will not be split 50-50 between you and your former spouse. Instead, they will be split in a way that the judge deems fair under the circumstances of your divorce.
What Factors Influence How the Judge May Determine Property Division?
1. The Reason for the Breakup of Your Marriage
If the marriage broke up due to adultery, drug abuse, or something else unfortunate, then the judge may award one spouse more assets than the other. The spouse who isn’t at fault will likely be awarded more assets than the spouse responsible for breaking up the marriage.
2. The Income Difference between the Spouses
A spouse who is earning considerably less than their former partner may be awarded more assets during the divorce. This may be in addition to being awarded spousal maintenance. The lower-earning spouse being awarded more of the assets can make the divorce seem considerably fairer, as their finances are likely to take a huge hit due to splitting from a higher-earning partner.
3. The Health of Each Spouse
If one spouse has a significant health issue, then they may be awarded more assets than their healthy spouse. This is because the ailing party likely has a more extreme need for financial security and a roof over their head. Plus, they’re less likely to be able to work full-time to support themselves.
4. The Custody Agreement Between the Spouses
One spouse may have sole possessory custody of the children. This means they need a suitable living environment and plenty of funds to take care of the kids. The spouse may be awarded more assets, and they may also be awarded child support payments from the spouse who does not have primary possessory custody of the children.
5. The Future Employability of Each Spouse
Somebody who hasn’t worked in 20 years and has no degree will likely have a hard time finding employment in the future. This spouse may be awarded more assets than a spouse who has a good job and will likely find another job easily if they lose their current position. It’s only fair that the spouse who is least likely to find good employment in the future is awarded more to help them stay afloat after the marriage ends.
Even though you and your former spouse own all your community property equally, it doesn’t mean it will be divided that way during your divorce. The judge will take numerous factors into account, and then they’ll split all of your marital assets in a way they deem most fair for your circumstances. You can work with an experienced divorce attorney to try and retain as many of your assets as possible.