Most people think that, because Texas is a community property state, their marital assets will be split in half when they divorce. While this is true for other community property states, it isn’t true in Texas. Our Tomball divorce lawyers can explain exactly what factors the court considers for the division of assets.
Your Divorce Attorney in Tomball Will Have to Negotiate a Division of Assets
Once your divorce is filed and your spouse has filed their response. Your divorce attorney in Tomball will start their negotiations. Between phone calls and emails, they’ll try to come to an agreement on property division with your spouse’s lawyer.
Ideally, these negotiations would go smoothly. After a week or two, you and your spouse will have come to terms on how to divide your debts and assets. Of course, when it comes to getting a divorce, it rarely works this way.
Texas Is a Community Property State
Texas is a community property state. Normally, this would mean that you and your spouse would divide everything equally when you get divorced. However, Texas follows a more modified version of community property.
The first thing the courts in Texas do is identify which of your assets are separate from the marriage and which are part of community property. Once this is done, they will look for a fair way to divide the community property.
The First Thing Your Tomball Divorce Lawyer Must Do is Determine What Assets are Separate
Your divorce attorney in Tomball understands how the courts determine the division of assets. The first thing they will try to do is determine which of your asses are considered separate from your marriage.
These assets will not be subject to equitable distribution in your divorce. Instead, you will own these assets free and clear once your divorce is final.
Property You Brought Into the Marriage
The first type of property that is exempt from community property are assets you brought into the marriage. For example, if you owned a home before you met your spouse, they would not be entitled to any of it when you divorce.
The same rule applies to your debts. If you had $40,000 in credit card bills before you got married, your spouse will not be responsible for paying them back.
Property You Received as a Gift or Inheritance
While not all married couples have to deal with gifts and inheritances, these are considered separate property in the divorce. If you receive an inheritance from your parents or another relative, your spouse has no claim to them.
This is true even if you received the inheritance midway through your marriage. It doesn’t matter when you received the property. As long as it was left to you in someone’s will, it is all yours.
Any Money You Received as Part of a Legal Settlement for Personal Injury
Another example of property that is not included in community property is money you receive in a legal settlement. For example, imagine that you were in a car accident three years after you got married.
If you settle your case for $50,000, this money will be yours only. Your spouse will not have a legal claim to any of this money in the divorce.
All Other Assets Will Be Considered Community Property
Aside from the assets described above, any other marital debts and assets will be considered community property. This means that your divorce attorney in Tomball will have to find a way to divide them fairly with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Usually, whichever spouse has more earning potential will be eager to divide the assets 50/50. They don’t want to have to give their spouse any more than necessary.
However, your Tomball divorce lawyer knows that the court won’t see it this way. According to Texas Family Code §3.003, the judge will decide the division of assets based on fairness and equity. This means that one spouse can walk away from the divorce with a great portion of the marital assets.
What Factors Will the Court Consider When Deciding the Division of Assets?
When deciding how to divide your marital assets, the judge will consider numerous factors. Your divorce attorney in Tomball is very familiar with what these factors are. Once they’ve had a chance to assess your situation, they will draft a property settlement agreement that they think is equitable.
Some of the factors the court will consider when dividing your community property include the following.
Length of the Marriage
If you were only married for a short time, there is a greater chance the court would split the assets evenly. In such a short relationship, it would be hard for the judge to impute any financial responsibility on either party.
The Earning Potential of Each Spouse
Normally, if one spouse earns significantly more than the other, they would be entitled to less in the divorce. The court wants to ensure that both parties have an opportunity to live in the same manner they did while they were married.
Education Levels of Both Spouses
Since education can be an indicator of earning potential, the court will consider it while determining how to divide your property. If one spouse has a doctorate and the other only has a high school diploma, it will impact the division of property.
Of course, these are not the only factors involved in the equitable division of assets. Your divorce attorney in Tomball can help explain the other factors and how they may impact your case.
Make Sure You Have a Divorce Attorney in Tomball by Your Side
When it comes to getting divorced, you cannot assume that your spouse will be fair about dividing your assets. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse has a Tomball divorce lawyer, you will be at a disadvantage. This is why we recommend you meet with a divorce attorney in Tomball before you make any final decisions.
While Texas is a community property state, they don’t use a simple 50/50 split when it comes to your divorce. They base the division of assets on a number of factors. You need a Tomball divorce lawyer there to make sure you get your fair share.
Call our office today so you can schedule your initial appointment with one of our divorce attorneys in Tomball.