Texas is a community property state, which means that the courts typically consider any property acquired by a couple after marriage is owned equally by both parties. When it comes to dividing property, there are several issues a court may consider.
Considerations in Dividing Property
Although this list is not exhaustive, these are some of the most common property division considerations:
- Ability to pay
- Education level
- Length of marriage
- Division-related tax issues
Each consideration depends on the circumstances of both spouses. For example, suppose one spouse has limited employability due to health problems and is the main care provider at home for the children, and the other spouse has a doctoral degree and a high-paying job. The judge may look more favorably upon awarding the house purchased during the marriage to the spouse with employment limitations. However, this does not mean that the higher-earning spouse will be left with nothing.
Fault is an aspect that may exist in some cases, such as when a spouse abandons the family, is abusive, or is unfaithful. Proving fault in a fault-based divorce may result in one spouse receiving a more significant division. This also depends on other circumstances. Courts consider financial accounts that couples have after they are married as assets. However, splitting some accounts can be detrimental in terms of taxes or penalties. Also, selling property may result in capital gains or losses. When awarding a spouse a property, the court must also consider the person's ability to pay maintenance, taxes, or other expenses. While these are just a few of many possible examples, there are plenty of other factors to consider as well. An attorney can help you understand what to expect with your unique circumstances.
How a Texas Family Law Attorney Helps
Not all couples know what to expect when they prepare to split ways. Cash and liquidated assets are much easier to divide than some accounts and real property. For all divorce cases in Texas, it is important for both parties to have an attorney. An attorney knows the laws and how to help protect the interests of a spouse. Also, a family law attorney knows how to work with the other spouse's attorney to work out fairer offers. Having an attorney represent you not only protects your interests in court, but it also protects your peace of mind by minimizing contact and confrontations during a difficult time.