Asset division is often a contentious issue during a divorce, along with spousal support, child custody, and child support. Unfortunately, many couples who go into their divorce believing it will be uncontested, soon find themselves in the middle of not only a contested divorce, but a hotly contested divorce. When it comes time to divide assets, this antagonism may only increase. The ultimate goal during asset division is to divide marital assets fairly. Texas, along with eight other states, are considered community property states. This means that all assets are divided 50/50—right down the middle, regardless of whether this division is fair.
An experienced divorce attorney can, however, ensure that all your separate property remains separate, and that you receive your fair share of the marital assets. At Jackson, Landrith & Kulesz, PC, we will work hard on your behalf to ensure your asset division truly is fair. We will fight hard for your rights during your divorce, as well as your future. It is important that you have a divorce attorney you can truly trust—someone you believe in and who believes in you. We invite you to speak to one of our Texas divorce attorneys. We can get you through this tough time with the least amount of stress, anxiety, and frustration.
How is Property Classified in Texas?
Under Texas law, any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is presumed to be community property, unless proven otherwise. Any property owned by either spouse prior to the marriage is presumed to be separate property, as is any property acquired during the marriage by “gift, devise, or descent.” This means that gifts given specifically to you, inheritances meant specifically for you, or family heirlooms passed on specifically to you remain yours, even when you receive them during your marriage. Unfortunately, there are many variables within the realm of separate property.
As an example, suppose your Uncle Joe left you his mountain cabin when he died. So long as the cabin is only titled in your name—and so long as no marital funds are spent to improve the cabin—then when you divorce the cabin may be considered your separate property. As you might have noticed, there seem to be a lot of “if” and “unless” stated and implied in that sentence. If you rented the cabin during your marriage, then the income from that rent could be considered marital property. And, if you ever placed your spouse’s name on the title of the cabin, then the cabin would be owned equally by each of you.
During your marriage, suppose your mother gives you a sportscar as a birthday gift. So long as you keep that car entirely separate from your marital assets, the car will likely remain yours, not subject to asset division during a divorce. Like the cabin example, however, if you should add your spouse’s name to the title, or potentially even if the car is insured in both your names, it could conceivably be considered marital property.
What About Retirement Accounts?
Many spouses go into a divorce with the belief that their retirement account is theirs and theirs alone. This is far from the reality, particularly in a community property state like Texas. Whatever portion of your retirement account was in place prior to your marriage will be considered separate property, but the portion acquired after your marriage will be considered marital property, subject to division. Since retirement accounts can often be a considerable asset, it is important that you have a knowledgeable Texas family law attorney by your side who can help ensure you receive the assets you are entitled to receive.
Community Property and Debt
Community property can include real estate, a business, cars, money, household items, retirement accounts and anything else earned or purchased by either spouse during the marriage. It makes absolutely no difference which spouse’s earnings were used to purchase the asset, or whose name is on the title. With very few exceptions, anything acquired during your marriage is marital property. But what about debt? Under community law, debt is largely the same as assets.
If you had crushing student loan debt prior to your marriage, that debt is likely to remain yours following the divorce. If, however, you went to college while you were married, accruing considerable student loan debt, that debt may be considered to be the debt of both spouses. You will want to talk to your divorce attorney about debts; even if the judge orders your spouse to pay a debt that is in both your names, and he or she does not pay it, the creditor can seek payment from you.
Getting the Help You Need During Your Divorce
Divorce involves many emotions, making it difficult for you and your spouse to work together in an amiable manner. It can be extremely helpful to have an attorney from Jackson, Landrith & Kulesz, PC on your side during this transitional time in your life. We will be on your side from start to finish, working hard on your behalf to ensure you receive what you are entitled to receive, whether that involves the division of assets, child custody, spousal support or child support.
We are highly experienced in all aspects of divorce, and will use that experience, along with our vast level of knowledge of Texas laws to ensure you receive the best settlement possible. When you contact a top family law attorney in Arlington, Texas, you can rest easy, knowing you can expect the very best outcome. Contact the Jackson, Landrith & Kulesz, PC Arlington, Texas family law attorneys today.