Divorce is almost always a very difficult process, but in Texas, the community property laws make it even more important to hire a qualified property division attorney. Texas is a community property state; this means that most property and assets acquired during the marriage belong to both spouses and usually are divided equally. Any separate property acquired prior to the marriage will be kept by the spouse who owned it. Separate property is defined as anything the spouse owned prior to becoming married, property inherited in their name, property gifted to one spouse, and money received from a personal injury settlement by one spouse, except the portion compensating for lost earnings during the marriage.
The court will consider all property community property unless a party proves that certain property should be classified as separate property and awarded to them solely.
Community property divorce laws are only practiced in 5 states, including Texas. The majority of the states utilize common law divorce, which differs dramatically. Common law states divide assets based on perceived fairness and equitable distribution, so the court has much discretion when determining how to divide the divorcing couple’s property. This can often result in very different outcomes as compared to what would occur in a community property divorce state.
However, Texas law still allows an equitable distribution under the circumstances to insure that the property is divided in a manner that is “just and right”. The judge can consider certain “equitable” factors, such as earning power of the spouses, employability, custody of minor children, fault, and other circumstances when determining an equitable distribution. In reality, spouses cannot count on the distribution being equal when all things are considered. So if you are planning to divorce, make sure you contact the Jackson Law Firm in Cedar Park, Texas to consult with an experienced property division attorney.