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How Texas Divides Marital Assets in a Divorce

 Posted on January 12, 2024 in Divorce

Blog ImageDivorcing couples have multiple issues to deal with throughout the divorce process. Chief among them are child custody, alimony, and asset division. Texas is a community property state and divides assets accordingly. Only community property is divisible in a Texas asset division and distribution trial. So what exactly is community property? An experienced divorce attorney can answer any questions regarding divorce issues and provide guidance on what steps to take throughout the entire process.

Community Property vs Equitable Distribution vs Separate Property

As stated, Texas is a community property state. Community property is all property acquired during a marriage that is subject to division in the event of a divorce. The marital estate is divided 50/50 down the line unless a premarital agreement has been established or a judge feels a different split is deemed more “just and right,” which can address both property and debt.

Most US states are equitable distribution states that attempt to divide all marital property fairly and equitably between spouses. This provides some give and take at the judge’s discretion on who will receive what property. Sometimes a judge may provide more physical assets in place of alimony payments to even things out in a more “fair” manner. Just like a community property state, an enforceable premarital or postmarital agreement can be used in determining asset distribution so long as the document seems fair and was not signed under duress or coercion.

Separate property is any property that belonged to an owner before the marriage took place. It can also be an inherited or gifted wealth received during the marriage. As long as no separate assets are commingled with marital assets, the original owner will likely retain ownership once a divorce is finalized. Commingling marital and separate assets together, however, will potentially mark them all as marital assets, subject to the division laws of the state.

How Property is Awarded

Texas judges must award the division of assets in a “just and right” manner. Many factors go into this decision, which can include:

  • The fault associated with the divorce, if applicable

  • Current and future earning potential between divorcing spouses

  • The value and size of each party’s separate estate, as opposed to the marital estate

  • The physical, mental, and emotional well-being of both parties

  • Other areas the judge feels are relevant

For property to be awarded, it must first be identified or discovered and presented to the court and both parties. It is highly unlikely that hidden assets will remain hidden during the discovery process, so full disclosure of assets is recommended.

The property must then be characterized as either community property or separate property. The Texas court only has jurisdiction over the division of community property, so this step is critical to acquire an accurate picture of what can and cannot be divided at trial.

The property must also be valued. Personal and household belongings can be easily valued by each party using appraisers. Business valuations may require an expert to value each business belonging to both spouses individually and jointly.

Following these steps, the property can then be divided. The court hopes that both parties can come to an agreeable settlement on their own for the division of property. However, if this cannot be accomplished, the judge will need to make that decision for them.

Contact a Tarrant County, TX Divorce Attorney

For a free consultation with an experienced Hurst, TX property division lawyer, contact the law firm of Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. at 817-498-4105. We can assist with asset division and any other divorce-related legal matter you may require. Contact us today!

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