Every Texas divorce case is different, so couples may face various issues through the process. However, one point that all parties must address is property division regarding the assets they acquired during the marriage. If you are contemplating divorce or already filed, you probably know that Texas is a community property state. Beyond this general concept, there are many other complications and subtleties that impact your rights in property division.
As a result, it is critical that you retain skilled legal representation no matter where you are along the timeline of a Texas divorce case. Property division can raise intense emotions, especially when you realize how the end result has an impact on your post-divorce future. Our attorneys at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC are prepared to fight for your rights and protect your interests in divvying up assets, so please contact our office to schedule a consultation with a Pearland property division lawyer. Some background information on the key concepts may also be helpful.
Property Division In Texas Divorce Cases
The default rule for assets in a divorce is that all community property is split equitably, according to the interests of fairness and justness. Therefore, the initial inquiry in the property division analysis is classifying assets.
Community Property: All assets acquired during the marriage, including real estate and personal property, constitute community property under Texas law. Regardless of whether spouses came into ownership jointly or individually, these items are subject to a just and right division. Examples include:
- The marital home and other real estate;
- Vehicles, furniture, collections, and personal belongings;
- Checking and savings accounts, stocks, and other investments;
- Each spouse’s wages; and,
- Interest from investments.
Separate Property: Any real estate or personal property a party owned before the wedding date belongs to him or her, and is not subject to a just and right division. Other assets that are considered separate, even if acquired during the marriage, include:
- Gifts to the individual spouse; and
Division of Debts: Keep in mind that debts are also a community or separate in nature, and are subject to a just and right division as well. The parties will each be responsible for obligations incurred before marriage, but community debts will be divided.
Challenges with Dividing Certain Assets: From the above description and examples of community property, you can see that a just and right division of some parts of the community estate can be straightforward. However, other assets are more complicated because of their own characteristics. Our team at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC can explain how Texas property division laws apply to:
Business Ownership: Interests in a company are community property, but rarely does it make sense to equitably divide up ownership in a business. Instead, parties may have to consider:
- One spouse buying out the other’s interests;
- Both spouses continue to operate the business as co-owners; or,
- Selling the business to a third party and splitting the proceeds.
With each option, note that it will be necessary to conduct a business valuation, which itself can be a complicated endeavor.
Stocks: The complexities of dealing with stock is not the division itself, but rather how to assess the tax implications for both parties. In addition, some stocks acquired through employment benefits may contain restrictions on transfer.
Court Proceedings For Property Division
Texas divorce laws encourage parties to reach an agreement on divvying up assets, and the just will usually approve it as long as the arrangement is not extremely unfair to one spouse. You are not bound by the principles of equitable distribution, so the parties can negotiate an agreement, sign the essential documents, and enter the order in court.
If the parties cannot agree to all issues related to property division, the court must conduct a hearing. Both spouses will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony to support their respective positions, and the judge will make a decision regarding:
- What property is community versus separate, if there are disputes; and,
- How assets will be divided according to Texas laws.
Discuss Your Circumstances With A Pearland Property Division Attorney
While this summary of Texas laws on asset division may be helpful, it should also convince you of how important it is to work with experienced legal counsel for your divorce. At The Ramos Law Group, PLLC, our team has extensive experience with property division issues, so we can assist with negotiating an agreement or representing you in court. Please contact our office today to set up a consultation with one of our skilled lawyers.
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