Each state has its own set of laws that govern the division of property during a divorce or dissolution of marriage. Community property is a term for the assets that a married couple owns together.

There are nine states that recognize the philosophy of community property, including Texas. Which assets are considered separate or community property is what guides the Texas court systems through the divorce process.

What Qualifies as Community Property in Texas Divorce?

Any asset that was acquired during the marriage is considered community property in Texas. This means that any asset earned or acquired during marriage– be it earnings, retirement accounts, real property, personal belongings, etc – are subject to a just and right division in a Texas divorce.

Even if an asset is in one spouse’s sole name, for example, a 401k retirement account or motor vehicle, if it was acquired after the date of marriage then it is considered community property in a Texas divorce.

The nature of community property in Texas divorce does not change no matter who earns the asset or contributes toward the community estate. Even if only one spouse earned community income or all the community assets are under only one spouse’s name, community property law requires that all assets be subject to a just and right division. This means a spouse that never worked or earned substantially less than the other spouse is entitled to a just and right division of the community property.

Assets from Before the Marriage

Any asset that was in existence prior to marriage is not considered community property. An asset that existed prior to the marriage is characterized as separate property.

Separate & Community Property in Texas Divorce

Some property can be characterized as both separate property and community property in a Texas divorce. For example, if a party had money in a retirement account on the date of marriage and continued to contribute after the date of marriage. Then there would be a community property interest and a separate property interest in the same account. Some property, even if acquired during the marriage, cannot be characterized as community property in a Texas divorce. This includes property that was acquired via gift, devise or inheritance. Any assets acquired by those means will remain as that spouse’s separate property.

Proving Separate vs. Community Property

There is a presumption that all property acquired during a marriage is characterized as community property. The burden of rebutting that presumption is on the party claiming the property is separate property.

A court cannot divide or award separate property; it can only address the division of community property in a Texas divorce. To prove that an asset is a separate property, a party must be able to prove the date of inception occurred prior to the date of marriage or that it was obtained through gift, inheritance or devise.

Speak With an Expert Attorney

Given the intricacies of the community property system and the importance of preserving all of your community property rights, it is highly advisable that you consult with a licensed Texas family law attorney who has experience in dealing with the division of community property in a Texas divorce. A licensed Texas divorce attorney with experience in dealing with the division of community property will be able to review the details of your estate and provide advice as to a proposed division.

Call Ramos Law Group

If you are considering a divorce in Texas and have assets to divide, please contact the Ramos Law Group to speak with one of our licensed attorneys about your case.

If you are the first to file for divorce, you will be known as the Petitioner. Ultimately, the differences between who files first are minimal but there are some procedural considerations as you will see below.

The Petitioner May Choose the County

If there are multiple counties in which the courts could have proper jurisdiction, the spouse to file first ultimately chooses the county that the matter will be heard in. If your spouse lives in another Texas county, it may be advantageous for you to file in the county closest to you. In Texas, It is sometimes better to file for divorce first so that the courthouse can be as close to your home as possible.

Control of the First Hearing Date

The party to file first is usually in control of the first hearing date for temporary orders, if temporary orders are requested in their case. Temporary orders may be requested for various reasons, but primarily parties want to establish provisions for conservatorship, child support, interim attorney’s fees, interim spousal support, temporary use of personal property, and temporary financial matters. Additionally, depending on how long your spouse waits to speak to an attorney before the hearing date, your attorney may end up having more time to prepare for the hearing.

Temporary Restraining Orders

If you are concerned that your spouse is wasting community funds or hiding other assets, it is better to file for your Texas divorce first. Then you may get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in place. A TRO is intended to maintain the status quo while your divorce is pending. For example, a TRO will prevent your spouse from selling or transferring any assets, canceling your insurance, or destroying any evidence related to the divorce.

A TRO will stay in place for 14 days, and it is recommended to follow it up with a temporary mutual injunction with the same or similar provisions for coverage of the entire remaining time of the divorce proceedings. See this list of standard injunctions for examples.

Responsibility for Drafting a Final Agreement

The responsibility for drafting a final agreement, if one is reached at mediation, will usually fall to the Petitioner’s attorney. This does mean that you absorb some of the additional cost to cover the drafting time, but it also means that your attorney can make sure that the Final Decree of Divorce gets drafted in a timely manner.

Additionally, we often experience issues with receiving final decrees from other attorneys who have just let their paralegal draft an order straight from a form generator. Having to revise an order that has not been given the proper amount of attorney attention can often end up costing the client more to revise than it would have for your attorney to just draft the final order themselves.

The Bottom Line

It is better to file first for your divorce in Texas if:

  • You want a divorce court close to home
  • You need to protect joint assets or evidence
  • You want to resolve the divorce process quickly

Call Ramos Law Group

Start the process of your Texas divorce with a call to the family law experts at Ramos Law Group. Reach us at 713-597-7274 or contact us online.

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Very few people seeking a divorce want to see the process drag out longer than necessary. Divorces can be difficult and expensive. If you’re seeking a divorce, you likely don’t want to spend a lot of time and money in the process either. But the answer to how long a divorce takes in Texas will depend on a number of factors. An experienced divorce attorney can typically help you estimate the timeframe during your initial consultation.

What to Expect

Truth be told, there is no such thing as a quick divorce in Texas. Texas requires a minimum 60-day waiting period between filing for divorce and issuing the final divorce decree. The court cannot have a hearing until 60 days after the complaint is filed. This is considered a “cool off” period, and it gives the spouses time to think and decide if they really want a divorce. In cases where domestic violence is involved, the court may waive the 60-day waiting period.

Once the two parties are ready to move forward, the court will be able to schedule a hearing to take place sometime in the future, and how long the divorce takes in a Texas court depends upon the numerous and varied legal complexities involved in the case. Most couples find it takes longer than two months to officially dissolve the marriage.

Uncontested Divorces

The 60-day period begins to run from the time the Original Petition for Divorce is actually filed with the court. If the divorce is “uncontested”, meaning the parties agree to all divorce terms, then the divorce may be finalized any time after the 60-day waiting period. Usually, these divorces are much more efficient. Sometimes, the divorcing couple decides upon the terms of their divorce before filing, while other couples reach their agreement soon after. In these situations, the divorce may be finalized almost immediately following the 60-day waiting period.

Contested Divorces

A contested divorce will usually take much longer to resolve and require more legal fees. How long an uncontested divorce in Texas takes often depends upon how much information each party needs to gather from the other. Each side will have time to conduct discovery, which is a time when your attorney may demand that your spouse produce certain financial evidence like bank statements or credit card bills. Your attorney should do all they can to determine what you’re entitled to in the divorce agreement, and they should negotiate with your spouse or their attorney to get you a good settlement before facing trial. However, if you cannot reach an agreement the case may go to trial.

Many divorce cases do not end up in a trial, but if they do, they can take several days or even weeks to resolve. At trial, a judge will hear testimony and review evidence about the divorce. At the end of the trial, the judge will issue an order with the terms by which the divorcing couple must comply.

If you have questions about how long your divorce in a Texas court will take, contact Ramos Law Group today for a consultation.

It is always in a party’s best interest to respond to discovery. This is for two main reasons. First off, it can hurt your ability to put on evidence at trial. Under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, failure to timely respond to discovery may prevent a party from being able to admit evidence at trial. If you plan on using witnesses at your trial and they are not timely disclosed during discovery process they may not be able to testify on your behalf. Evidence can be of the utmost important during a legal dispute, responding to discovery ensures evidence important to your case can be heard at trial.

The second reason it is important to respond to discovery is that the court may take action against a nonresponsive party. A court may grant the opposing party’s motion to compel discovery and attorneys fees, which does not help your case in the eyes of the court. If a party again fails to respond to discovery after a motion to compel is granted, the court may impose sanctions. For those reasons it is very important to respond to discovery in a timely manner and to the best of your abilities.

Disclaimer: The material obtained from this site is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your own legal situation.
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