November 18, 2022  

Dividing Your Property and Debt in a Texas Divorce

If you're going through a divorce in Texas, you'll need to figure out how to divide your property and debts. This can be a complicated process, especially if you and your spouse have a lot of assets and debts. This article will give you some information about how property and debt are divided in a Texas divorce. We'll also talk about some common mistakes people make when dividing property in a divorce.

What is Community Property?

Community property is a legal term that refers to all of the money, assets, and debts that a married couple or Registered Domestic Partners (RDPs) accumulate during their marriage or partnership. This includes debts incurred during the marriage or RDP and any debts incurred after the relationship has ended. Community property is divided equally between husband and wife or registered domestic partners when they divorce or dissolve their relationship.

Community property is important because it can help couples resolve some financial disputes. If one spouse or partner owes money to someone else, for example, the other spouse or partner may be able to get that person to forgive the debt in exchange for shares of the community property. Community property also helps spouses or RDPs protect their assets from each other in a legal dispute. If one spouse or partner tries to take away all of the community property, they would have less money to fight with.

Several factors determine whether community property is divided between spouses or RDPs during a divorce or dissolution, such as where the couple lived before getting married; how much each spouse contributed towards expenses; and any gifts given during marriage. Courts will also consider any agreements between parties before a divorce or dissolution goes into effect.

What is Separate Property?

When couples divorce in Texas, they can divide their property and debt through a number of methods. One method is to designate certain assets and debts as separate property. This means that these assets and debts are not subject to the other spouse's rights or claims. They are instead considered to be owned exclusively by the designated party. This is known as separate property because it is separate from everything else.

Separate property is any asset or debt acquired by one spouse before marriage, during marriage by gift or inheritance, or after separation. It doesn't matter how long the asset has been owned or who originally acquired it. If you want to know more about what qualifies as separate property, consult an attorney specializing in family law.

Because the separate property is an important part of a divorce, it's important to be aware of the consequences of properly designating it. If you don't designate any assets or debts as separate property, your spouse may be able to claim them as their own. This could lead to major changes in your financial situation and can even invalidate your divorce proceedings. It's also possible for your spouse to sue you for the value of the assets that were not designated as separate property. If this happens, having an attorney on your side will ensure you receive the best possible outcome from the court proceedings.

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It's often unclear who gets the house in a divorce because the house is considered to be both a community and a separate property."

Who Gets the House in a Divorce?

In a divorce, it's often unclear who gets the house. This is because the house is considered to be both a community and a separate property. If a couple bought the house during their marriage, then it's community property and must be divided between them. If only one spouse owned the house before the marriage, it would be that person's separate property, and they would get to keep it. However, in some cases, the value of the house may also be partly marital and partly separate property. For example, if one spouse owned the home before the marriage but they put money towards improving it during their relationship with their spouse, then any improvements made during their relationship would be considered part of the value of that home.

If a couple is getting divorced and one spouse has primary custody of the children, then that spouse would typically get the house in a divorce. However, it gets more complicated if both spouses have custody of the children. If one spouse solely owns the home before the marriage and does not live there during custody disputes, then that home would be considered separate property, and they would get to keep it. If both spouses jointly own the home before the marriage, but one of them lives there exclusively during litigation or as part of their parenting time, then that home may also be considered community property. In these cases, it depends on how much each partner contributed to its value and who primarily uses or occupies it during family disputes.

Who Gets the Debt in a Divorce?

After a Texas divorce, each spouse is responsible for their own creditors. If one spouse has more debt than the other, they may have to pay back this debt first. However, if both spouses have equal amounts of debt, then they will generally be able to work out an arrangement where both parties can repay their debts.

In most cases, the spouse who gets the debt in a Texas divorce is the one who incurred the debt. This is because community property and separate property are divided equally between spouses in a Texas divorce, so each spouse owns all of the jointly owned assets.

If there is more than one outstanding obligation on an asset, then the creditor with the oldest debt will generally get to claim that asset. This means that if one spouse has an older loan that is already paid off, they may not be able to get their hands on that asset after a Texas divorce. However, this rule only sometimes applies and can depend on the specific circumstances involved in each case.

Usually, both spouses can repay their debts after a Texas divorce. However, if one spouse has more debt than the other, they may have to pay back this debt first.

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“Each spouse gets an equal share of the property, based on their respective contributions to the marriage."

How Does a Judge Divide Property in a Divorce?

In a divorce, the property is typically equitably divided between the spouses. This means that each spouse gets an equal share of the property, based on their respective contributions to the marriage. This is community property, including assets such as money, stocks, and land.

When dividing community property, a judge will consider a number of factors, including who contributed what to the marital estate, how long each spouse has controlled and used the asset, whether one spouse benefited more financially than the other from using or owning the asset during the marriage; and any special circumstances that may have existed during the marriage (such as joint ownership of a business).

After considering these factors, a judge will equitably divide community property. This means that each spouse will receive an equal share of the community property, based on their respective contributions to the marriage. Certain types of community property may be included in this division (such as money earned from working at home), while others (like real estate) may not be included.

Divorce can be complicated and stressful for both parties involved. Understanding some basic concepts about how divorce works in Texas can hopefully reduce some of these stresses and make it easier for you and your lawyer to navigate the process.

What are Common Mistakes People Make When Dividing Property in a Divorce?

When dividing up property in a divorce, it is important to be aware of the common mistakes that people make. Some of the most common mistakes include failing to update their will or beneficiaries, not knowing the difference between separate and community property, underestimating the value of certain assets such as a business, pension plan, or retirement account, and forgetting to consider debts when dividing up property. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that your divorce goes more smoothly and that you receive all of your fair share of the marital estate.

One of the most common mistakes that people make when dividing up property in a divorce is underestimating the value of certain assets. For instance, if you own a business, it may be worth more than you think. Likewise, having a pension plan or other retirement account may be worth more than you think. Knowing these assets' value allows you to ensure that your fair share of the marital estate is distributed accordingly.

Another mistake that people make during a divorce is failing to update their will or beneficiaries. If no Will has been created, then the law provides for an automatic intestate succession in which all property and assets are divided equally between the spouses after death without any need for probate proceedings. However, if a Will exists but does not name any beneficiaries or fails to adequately reflect changes in family status since its creation (e.g., adding children), then the law allows for disputes about whether the specific property should go to specific individuals in a contested intestate succession case. Ensuring that all proper updates are made to your will before filing for divorce, can help avoid potential disputes later on in your divorce process.

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“Going through a divorce can be a difficult and confusing process, so it's important to understand your rights and options when it comes to dividing your property and debt."

Final Thoughts

No matter what your situation is, going through a divorce can be a difficult and confusing process. It's important to understand your rights and options when it comes to dividing your property and debt. In this article, we've given you some information about how community property and separate property are divided in a Texas divorce. We've also talked about some common mistakes people make when going through a divorce. If you're facing a divorce, we encourage you to contact an experienced family law attorney who can help protect your rights and interests.

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AILEEN LIGOT DIZON

Aileen is an experienced Texas Divorce Attorney. She is a Houston-based divorce attorney who has been helping couples through the process. After seeing too many couples fighting and not knowing where to turn, she decided to create this Texas divorce blog site.