Divorce In Texas: Who Gets What?

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by | Feb 16, 2023

Ending a marriage is never easy, but it can be especially complicated in Texas. With its unique divorce laws on marital property division, couples who are getting divorced in the Lone Star State must understand their rights and obligations when it comes to dividing up their assets. The Jimenez Law Firm can help make sure you get what you deserve out of your divorce settlement.

Dividing Assets in a Texas Divorce

In Texas, all property acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage is considered “community property.” This comes with a few exceptions such as inheritances and gifts. The community estate must be divided in a manner that is just and right between the spouses in a divorce. This does not necessarily mean that the assets will be split 50/50. The court considers a variety of factors when determining how to divide the property, such as the length of marriage and each spouse’s financial situation.

Is Texas a Community Property State?

Yes, Texas is a community property state. This means that all marital property acquired during the marriage is considered to be owned jointly by both spouses and must be divided between them in the event of divorce.

This also includes debts acquired during the marriage, which must be split between the spouses in the same way that property is divided.

The Jimenez Law Firm can help you and your spouse reach an agreement on the division of marital property that is fair and just. Our experienced attorneys understand the complexities of Texas divorce law and will work hard to ensure you understand all your rights and obligations before signing any documents. Contact us today for more information about how we can help with your divorce case.

What Is Community Property in Texas?

Community property in Texas is any asset or debt acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This includes real estate, cars, bank accounts, investments, and other personal property held jointly by both spouses. It also includes debts such as credit cards and loans.

Under Texas law, all community property must be divided in a manner that is just and right between the two divorcing spouses.

What Is Separate Property in Texas?

Separate property in Texas is any asset that was acquired prior to the marriage or inherited or gifted during the marriage. This includes premarital assets such as a home, business, or other personal property. It also includes inheritances, gifts, and awards received by either spouse while married.

Under Texas law, separate property remains with each spouse after the divorce is finalized and does not need to be divided between them.

How Is Community Property Divided at Divorce?

The community estate must be divided in a manner that is just and right between the two spouses. If an agreement is reached between the divorcing spouses on how to divide the property, it may be approved by the court. If an agreement cannot be reached, then it will be up to the court to decide who gets what.

In Texas, there are three main types of property division:

  1. Community Property Division: In this type of division, the court divides all community property in a manner that is just and right. This includes all real estate held jointly by both spouses, bank accounts, investments, vehicles, and other personal property belonging to both spouses.
  2. Equitable Distribution: In an equitable distribution scenario, one spouse is awarded certain assets while the other receives something different with both parties being satisfied with the outcome. This type of division is especially beneficial when the spouses own non-liquid assets, such as a home or business that would be difficult to divide.
  3. Separate Property Division: With this method, each spouse gets to keep their separate property, which may include inheritances, gifts, and all premarital property acquired before the marriage.

What is a “Just and Right” Division of Community Property in Texas?

A just and right division of community property is one that is fair and equitable for both parties. The court will look at a variety of factors such as the length of marriage, the contributions each spouse made to the marital estate, the financial condition of each party, and any other factors it deems relevant when determining how to divide the marital estate.

Length of the Marriage

In divorces in Texas, the length of the marriage can be an important factor in determining how property is divided. Generally speaking, with shorter marriages (less than five years) the court will look to return both parties to their pre-marriage financial state as closely as possible. This means that each spouse will keep whatever assets they had before the marriage and only community property acquired during the marriage will be subject to division.

For longer marriages (over ten years), however, it is more likely that each spouse’s contributions over time are seen by the court as equally valuable so that there may not necessarily be a “winner” or “loser” when it comes to asset division.

The Fault of Either Party

In some cases, the fault of either party may be taken into consideration when dividing property in a Texas divorce. For example, if one spouse is found to have committed adultery or violated the terms of a valid premarital agreement, the court may award that spouse less of the marital estate.

Misappropriation of Marital Assets

Lastly, the court will also consider any misappropriation of marital assets when dividing property. This includes instances where one spouse has used community funds for their own gain without the knowledge or consent of the other spouse. In these cases, the court may award a greater portion of the estate to the non-offending spouse as compensation.

The Health of the Parties

The health of the parties involved can also be a factor that is taken into consideration when dividing property in a Texas divorce. If one spouse has significant medical or mental health needs, for instance, the court may award that spouse more of the marital estate so that they can better care for themselves.

Each Party’s Education and Earning Capacity

The court will also look at the respective education and earning capacity of each party when determining how to divide property. If one spouse has a higher level of education or is more likely to earn a greater income than the other, the court may award the other more of the marital estate to account for that disparity.

Liabilities of the Parties

Finally, the courts will also consider any liabilities of each party when dividing property in a Texas divorce. This includes things like debts and unpaid taxes that must be taken into consideration when determining how to divide assets.

Amount of Each Spouse’s Separate Property

When dividing property, the court must also consider the amount of each spouse’s separate property. If one party has significantly more separate property than the other, they are less likely to receive a larger portion of the marital estate.

Can I Get a Portion of My Spouse’s Pension and Employment Benefits?

Retirement benefits can play a significant role in the division of property during a divorce. In many cases, one spouse will have contributed to retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and IRAs throughout the marriage, often at the expense of other financial obligations or goals. As such, when dividing marital assets in a Texas divorce, the court must often look to determine what portion of these retirement accounts are community property and thus subject to division.

In Texas, any amount accrued in a retirement account during the marriage through contributions made by either party is considered community property and thus subject to division in a divorce. This includes employer-sponsored plans that are funded by both salary deferrals and employer-matching contributions since both components were earned during the marriage. It is important to note that any increases or decreases in value due to fluctuations in the stock market are not considered when determining how much should be allocated to each party.

The court may also consider whether either party has withdrawn funds from any of these retirement accounts prior to filing for divorce as this could influence how much is available for division by the court. The court may also rule that one party retain ownership of all or part of any retirement asset if they were primarily responsible for its creation or growth during the marriage.

Additionally, if compensation was paid out from an employer as part of a deferred compensation plan during the course of the marriage, then this too can be considered community property and divided accordingly. This same principle applies even if only one spouse was an employee at the time and received the income associated with it; since it was earned during their marriage it is subject to division upon divorce according to Texas family law.

At Jimenez Law Firm we understand that navigating complicated asset divisions can be difficult for couples going through a Texas divorce. We strive to ensure that each client receives their fair share of marital assets and that no one is taken advantage of during this emotionally charged process. With our experienced attorneys on your side, you can rest assured knowing you will receive an equitable distribution based on your unique circumstances.

How Do the Courts Divide a Closely Held Business or Professional Practice?

Dividing a closely held business or professional practice will involve complex financial calculations and requires the assistance of an attorney who is familiar with this type of asset division. Businesses tend to be one of the most valuable assets in a marriage, so proper guidance and legal advice are essential during this process.

At Jimenez Law Firm, each lawyer is adept in all aspects of dividing property during a Texas divorce. We can assist you in coming up with creative solutions to divide your businesses, including using methods like buyouts, awarding certain assets to each party, or even delaying the distribution until after the divorce itself has been finalized. We will also ensure that all taxes associated with these asset divisions are taken into account and handled properly.

Can Texas Courts Award Spousal Maintenance?

In some situations, a court may award spousal maintenance  during the divorce process. Typically, this type of payment is made from one spouse to another in order to provide financial support after the marriage has ended. The court will consider factors such as the length of the marriage, each party’s earning capacity and current income, relative health and age of both parties, and any other relevant considerations when determining if spousal support should be awarded.

At Jimenez Law Firm, we understand that navigating complex family law matters can be difficult for those going through a Texas divorce. Our experienced attorneys are committed to ensuring you receive the best possible outcome in your case regarding spousal maintenance or any other legal issues you may be facing. We will work hard to make sure your rights are protected throughout the divorce process and that you receive a fair outcome.

Divorce Lawyers You Can Count on For Results

The Jimenez Law Firm is an experienced family law firm that provides comprehensive legal advice and representation to those seeking a divorce in Texas. We understand the sensitive nature of family law matters, so our attorneys make sure to provide compassionate counsel while also aggressively advocating for our clients’ best interests.

Our lawyers have extensive experience dealing with all aspects of Texas divorces, from asset division to spousal maintenance. No matter what your unique situation may be, you can trust that our team will fight hard for the outcome you deserve.

Contact The Jimenez Law Firm today online or at (214) 513-0125 for a consultation and let us show you how we can help.