Understanding The Complexity Of Dividing Community Property In Texas
Facing a divorce may create stress and anxiety for any individual. Resolving the financial aspects of divorce, including property division, often leads to stressful and contentious disputes. Understanding how property is divided and developing a strategic plan with a skilled lawyer can help balance the emotional, financial and psychological factors of divorce.
At the Law Office of William B. Doonan, with locations in Midland and Tarrant counties, we provide compassionate, aggressive and experienced legal advice and advocacy to obtain the best possible outcome. Our founding lawyer is one of a small group of lawyers in the state who has earned the distinction of being Board Certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Dividing Community Property Does Not Require An Exact “50-50” Split
Texas is a community property state. Property acquired during the marriage by either spouse is presumptively included in the marital estate. Separate property is generally excluded from community property unless commingled with marital assets. Separate property may involve assets one spouse brought into the marriage, or acquired individually during the marriage as a gift, through an inheritance or as a monetary recovery for a personal injury action (other than damages related to the loss of earning capacity). Disputes over the value of assets, including professional association and business interests, require detailed analysis and may require expert witnesses to appraise the assets and present evidence.
Many individuals believe that community property is simply split in half during divorce. However, Texas law recognizes that dividing assets with mathematical precision is usually not possible. Equal division of community property is not a requirement. The Texas Family Code simply requires the court to divide marital property in a “just and right” manner.
Factors To Address In Dividing Property In Texas
Preparing a strategy to address the individual circumstances of your case for negotiations, mediation or trial – when necessary – is important to protect your rights. Depending on the individual case, a disproportionate distribution of assets may support a “just and right” outcome. Texas Family Code Section 7.001 provides a nonexclusive list of factors that may be weighed in determining how community property may be divided, including:
- The nature of the property
- The disparity of incomes or earning capacities of the parties
- The parties’ business opportunities
- The parties’ relative financial condition and obligations
- The parties’ education and physical condition
- The disparity in ages between the parties
- Fault in the breakup of the marriage
- The benefit the innocent spouse would have received had the marriage continued
- The size of any separate estates
- The probable need for future support for either spouse
When fault or misconduct is at issue, the court may evaluate the conduct of the offending party or whether a spouse unfairly depleted or dissipated community property. Moreover, if a spouse hides assets during the divorce, the ex-spouse who suffered financial harm due to the misconduct has a limited amount of time to ask the court to revisit the distribution of property after the final divorce decree has been entered.
Learn How The Law Office of William B. Doonan Can Help You
Our attorney is an experienced trial lawyer who takes the time to work directly with clients every step of the way. To learn how we can fight to obtain the best possible outcome for you, please arrange a consultation. In the Keller/Ft Worth area, call 817-898-7242. In the Midland area, call 432-570-9949. You may also send us a message online.