When a couple gets divorced in Texas, their property needs to be divided. Texas is a “community property” state that treats all property acquired during the marriage as shared, and the couple or the court needs to figure out a way to divide these assets fairly. In many cases, the property you are able to get from the divorce will dictate your financial well-being going forward, so it is important to have a lawyer represent you in your case.
The Queenan Law Firm’s Dallas property and asset division lawyers represent spouses in divorce cases and fights to protect their assets and help them get what is just out of a divorce case. Especially if you operate a business, need financial assistance with health care concerns, or have significant retirement accounts in your family, it is important to get help from a Dallas family lawyer during your divorce to make sure assets are divided properly. For a free legal consultation, call our attorneys today at (817) 476-1797.
Dallas “Community Property” Rules for Asset Division During Divorce
As mentioned, Texas is a “community property” state. States that follow these rules usually have two features. First, all property acquired during the life of the marriage is considered “community property” that is jointly owned by both spouses. Second, all property is divided equally during divorce. Texas does not follow this equal division presumption, but instead requires under Texas Family Code § 7.001 that all property be divided in a way that is “just and right.”
This kind of division is usually known as “equitable” division. Equitable does not mean the same as equal, so a 50/50 split is not always used in Dallas divorce cases. I instead, the court looks at what is fair. Specifically, § 7.001 says the division should be just and right regarding each party’s rights and the children involved in the marriage. This means that the court should look at how the property was acquired and who it would be fair to give the property to, and that the court should make sure the parent(s) who will have custody of the children have enough assets to support them.
What Assets Are Divided During a Dallas Divorce Case?
During a marriage, any property that the couple acquires is considered community property and is subject to asset division during a divorce. However, any property that the spouses acquired before the marriage is separate property and is not subject to division. There are also a few other types of property acquired during the marriage that are not subject to division and are instead considered separate property. This primarily includes gifts to only one spouse and damages from a personal injury case that affected only one spouse (except for damages for lost wages).
Because community property encompasses anything you gain during the marriage, that means that any of the following can be considered community property and become subject to division during a divorce:
- Household items
- Business interests
- Savings accounts
- Retirement accounts
Usually, items and money you already owned before the wedding are kept separate and are not subject to division. Additionally, if you intentionally share something and give up your individual claim over it, e.g., by adding your spouse to the title of your home, it becomes shared property and is also subject to division.
There are complex cases involving what to do with commingled money in accounts, how to deal with a spouse who is claiming an interest in your business, and what to do with insurance money. Our attorneys can help guide you through the process of dividing or keeping these assets separate.
Asset Division Agreements in Dallas Divorces
In many cases, the couple will have vested interests in many of the assets that would be divided during a divorce, and leaving the division to the court is the last thing they want. Instead, couples are permitted to draft agreements and negotiate asset division on their own. Courts can approve asset division agreements and let these take effect as long as they consider the agreement “just and right.”
If the court rejects your agreement, the judge is permitted to allow you to go back and renegotiate a new agreement. It is absolutely vital to work with an attorney because when the court sees that both sides were represented by counsel, it is more likely to agree that the negotiated outcome is indeed just and right.
Other ways to control asset division by agreement include using a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Even before you get married, you and your spouse can form a prenuptial agreement that will control what assets become community property and what assets stay separate, allowing people to protect business interests, investments, and other assets that they do not want to potentially lose in a divorce case. This can also help a spouse without those kinds of assets by giving them a guarantee of what they will receive upon divorce and potentially insuring against adultery and other wrongful treatment by including clauses that would give them more assets if those things were to occur.
Call Our Dallas Asset Division Attorneys for a Free Case Consultation
If you are considering divorce and want help understanding what property you might be able to keep or what property you might be in danger of losing, call our Dallas property and asset division lawyers for a free case consultation. At The Queenan Law Firm, we represent clients in divorce cases and work to protect their financial rights and see them leave the marriage with the assets they need. For a free case consultation, call our Dallas and Arlington TX family law attorney today at (817) 476-1797.