What Assets Are Divided in a Divorce?
Divorce is not an easy process, especially when you have no idea what to expect.
When it comes to divorce in Texas, understanding how your assets will be divided is important, so we’re here to help you navigate this situation.
One of the first things you should know is that Texas is what is called a community property state.
This means that when a couple gets married in Texas, the state assumes that all acquired property and assets are owned jointly. In other words, the property two people collect (or acquire) during the marriage doesn’t belong specifically to just one spouse or the other.
All property and assets acquired during the marriage belong to the marital community estate.
These marital community estate assets are subject to division during a divorce proceeding.
In addition to marital community estate assets, there are separate property assets.
Separate property assets in the state of Texas are anything one spouse owned prior to marriage.
Also, if one spouse inherited property during the marriage, the court will likely classify it as separate property.
Two other examples of separate property include (1) property received as a gift by only one spouse and (2) recoveries for personal injuries sustained by only one spouse, except for the portion of the award intended to compensate for lost earnings during the marriage. (Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 3.001).
If said property in example number one above gains value during the course of the marriage, the accrued value may be subject to division. Also, one spouse may have a partial claim if she or he performed work or made investments on that property that increased its value.
Marital Community Estate Assets Factors
Once a divorce is in progress, all property and assets that belong to the community estate are subject to a “just and right division” between the parties. This is not necessarily a 50/50 split between the assets though.
The court will look at many different factors to decide how to divide up the assets:
- Fault in the breakup of the marriage
- The disparity of earning power between the spouses
- Each spouse’s health
- Which spouse has custody of the child(ren)
- Each spouse’s education
- Future employability of the spouses
- Business opportunities
- Age difference
- What benefits the not-at-fault party would have enjoyed if the marriage continued
- The nature of the assets in question
Properties Subject to Just and Right Division
Marital community estate assets include a wide range of property that is subject to just and right division upon divorce:
- Real estate
- Personal property
- Financial accounts
- Certain retirement plans and pensions
- Specific employment benefits
Remember that separate properties are not included in this and will not be divided.
Like marital community estate assets, any debt or liabilities accrued during the marriage are the shared responsibilities of the community estate as well. Both parties are responsible for satisfying any debts of the marriage, and the court will divide marital debts between the spouses in a divorce.
As a corollary, any debt a spouse separately incurs does not expose the community estate to liability. However, there are some exceptions to the general rule regarding the liability of a spouse’s separate estate for the acts of their former spouse.
A spouse’s separate property may be used to satisfy the following debts:
- Debts the other spouse incurred to obtain food, shelter, clothing, health care, or other necessaries of life
- Obligations the other spouse assumed while acting as an agent for their spouse
Lean on the Professionals
No matter the situation or circumstances, divorce is tough.
Having some knowledge of what to expect as you move through this life-altering event will hopefully help calm your mind and let you know what first steps you need to take.
Having a good law firm or lawyer by your side is critical, and they can support and walk you through every step. Not having to navigate this very emotional process alone can put your mind at ease. A good firm can also help you with any paperwork you will need to get in order and will ensure a fair and just representation.
Setzer Law Firm
At Setzer Law Firm, we have attorneys that can help you navigate the aspects of a divorce, like dividing assets.
If you want to carry out an uncontested divorce, please contact Setzer Law Firm. Even if your case is contentious, our team will give you the help and support you need.
We are a family law office located in Southlake, Texas, and no matter what family law matter you are dealing with, we will provide the guidance and help you need until it’s resolved.
We have years of experience working throughout the Dallas–Fort Worth area, and our attorneys are compassionate and knowledgeable. Our lawyers can help you draw up the paperwork, negotiate the division of assets, and ensure a process that is as stress-free as humanly possible.