Dividing Your Marital Property In Divorce
If you’ve made the decision to end your marriage, you probably have a lot of questions about how divorce works in Texas. Most of our divorce clients are getting divorced for the first (and hopefully last) time and have no idea what to expect. Listed below are some of the most common questions we get from people who are ready to take the first steps in the divorce process. If you have more specific questions, we encourage you to contact us directly at (713) 226-7999 to set up a consultation.
What Does Community Property Mean In A Divorce?
Community property is a legal term that defines almost all money, property and other assets owned by either spouse at the time of divorce as equally owned by both spouses. For example, even if one spouse has a savings account with $5,000 and the other spouse has an account with $50,000, the court considers both accounts to be jointly owned by both spouses. One of the goals of the divorce proceedings is to divide marital property in a way that is equitable to both spouses.
Does Equitable Division Mean 50-50?
Equitable division means marital property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. The court considers many factors in dividing assets including who is at fault for the divorce, the length of the marriage, the disparity in incomes and other financial circumstances.
Are There Assets In A Marriage That Are Not Considered Community Property?
Property in a marriage is considered either marital property or separate property. A marital property becomes community property in divorce proceedings. Anything proven to be a separate property can be kept out of the pool of the marital property. Spouses can agree to consider any asset as separate property during the divorce proceedings. Otherwise, to be considered separate property, the asset must fall under one of the following categories:
- Property inherited by one spouse during the marriage.
- Property owned by one spouse before the marriage.
- Money leftover from an injury settlement after medical expenses are paid and lost wages are accounted for.
When divorce proceedings begin, the court sees all property as community property to be divided between the spouses. If you have something that you believe should be designated as separate property, your divorce lawyer will help provide evidence to get that designation.
How Is Debt Divided?
Debt is divided equally in the same was marital property; the court assigns responsibility for the debt in a way that is “fair and just.” However, it is important to be aware of the debt that is both of your names. The court may order both spouses to pay a debt that is in both names, but divorce decrees do not change the terms of existing loans or other forms of debt. If your spouse does not pay their share of debt that is in both of your names, you are still legally responsible to pay that debt. Make sure you put together a complete list of all marital debt when you start the process so your lawyer can protect you against the potential risks of joint debt.
Does Child Custody Affect The Division Of Property?
Parenting time is one of the factors used to determine a fair division of property. The spouse who gets primary custody of the children usually gets the home and may get a larger, more “equitable” share of all marital property.
What If My Spouse And I Can’t Agree To Terms?
When you are unable to agree to terms, the court decides how to divide your property for you. The court’s distribution plan is based on what the judge considers to be “just and right.” You and your spouse will not have a say in the final decision. We encourage all divorcing couples to negotiate terms before going to court.
For More Answers, Contact The Farias Law Firm
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