During divorce, most states use equitable distribution, dividing common assets in a way that is fair though not always equal. Texas, however, is a community property state. A couple divorcing in the Lone Star State can generally expect to split their marital property relatively evenly.
While this may sound straightforward, it is not always that simple. There are often complex factors to consider. Ideally, a couple can resolve their asset division without the intervention of the courts. However, if this is not possible, the laws of the state come into play, and this might mean one spouse must fight for a fair outcome during property division.
A complex process
The first issue to resolve is whether the couple jointly or individually owns certain assets. Generally, any assets acquired prior to their wedding day remain separate while those the couple accumulate during their marriage are joint property. This includes debts as well as income. If spouses receive individual inheritances or gifts, they can retain them as individual property.
The court may consider how much in individual funds a spouse contributed for the purchase of a community asset, such as a home. Additionally, if a couple also owns property in an equitable distribution state, different rules may apply. Often the separation of community property requires selling the property and splitting the proceeds.
Getting a fair share
Unless there exists a prenuptial agreement, the division of property during divorce can be complicated and stressful. Many do not realize the long-term struggle they will face after their divorce if they do not obtain a fair share of marital assets. It is critical to have solid and resourceful legal counsel with the client’s best interests at heart during this challenging time.