Property Division Tips You Should Know
Division of property is one of the most complex parts of a divorce. If you’re working toward a property division settlement, or if you know the matter will wind up in court, it’s important to understand the law and how to take the appropriate steps to protect your property, your finances, and your family.
If you are gearing up for a divorce, it’s vital to know your rights and obligations concerning the division of your marital property. At the Law Office of Maria Lowry, our trusted divorce attorney can help you navigate what can be a complex road. We’re ready to discuss how we can help you through this process. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation on your case. Below, we discuss a few important aspects of property division in a Texas divorce.
Understanding Separate vs. Marital Property
The first step for property division is to know what property is subject to division. Nearly all property acquired during the marriage (with limited exceptions) is considered community property and is subject to distribution upon divorce.
Separate property is not subject to division. Separate property includes property acquired before marriage as well as certain special items acquired during the marriage, including gifts, inheritances, and bequests under a will.
Texas is a Community Property State
Texas is one of a few community property states. Per Texas law, all community property (meaning just about all income, assets, accounts, debts, and other property) acquired during the marriage is considered to be equally owned by both spouses. Upon divorce, each party is entitled to a 50/50 share of all community property. In practice, it’s hard to divide everything literally in half, but if left up to the court they will do their best to get as close as possible.
Be Honest and Forthcoming in Your Financial Declaration
The law requires you to disclose all of your finances during the divorce proceeding. It can be a tedious process, especially if you have a lot of different accounts, property, debts, and other financial holdings in various locations. However, it’s important to be honest and fully forthcoming in your financial disclosures.
If you are caught lying on your disclosures by, for example, hiding assets or income, you could anger the court. The court can punish you for such actions, including by altering the calculation of spousal support or the distribution of property.
If you suspect your spouse may be hiding assets, talk to your Texas family law attorney. They can retain the appropriate financial experts to determine if there are additional assets that should come into play.
Consider What Matters to You Most
Although each spouse technically owns half of all community property, you’ll be entering negotiations to, hopefully, reach a settlement. The settlement will dictate what each party receives. Much of your divorce may be spent in these negotiations, vying for the marital property that you want to keep after the divorce.
Consider, for example, whether it’s important to you to keep the family home. Maybe you’re willing to grant your spouse the house in exchange for a monetary settlement, a greater percentage of certain business ownership interests, or other items. Talk to your lawyer about the items in dispute and consider what you’d be willing to give up in order to get something more important to you, especially because you have a great insight as to what your ex values most as well.
Factors Impacting Property Division
Although Texas is a community property state, the court may still have to make certain decisions about how property should be distributed. The court will consider a number of factors to make such decisions, and these factors may play into your settlement talks as well. Factors include whether either party was guilty of any misconduct during the marriage, especially waste of community assets; child custody; disparity of earning capacity; the effect of property distribution on tax liability; and whether either party gave up employment, education, or other career opportunities to support the family.
Work With the Right Property Division Lawyer
At every step of the case, it helps to have the right representation on your side. Your family law attorney will help you identify all relevant assets, gather and request appropriate documents, make arguments in court, and negotiate on your behalf to best protect your interests.
The dedicated team at the Law Office of Maria Lowry is here for you. Our seasoned team will work to ensure that you experience a just and right division of your community property during what is undoubtedly a difficult process to navigate. As difficult as it may be, having experienced legal counsel on your side can help you gain the legal guidance and confidence you need to move forward through the process. Reach out today to learn more.