Understanding the Texas rules on property division

May 15 2014 - Posted by , in Marital Property, Property Division, Tagged in Marital Property, Property Division

From movies to tabloids, from television shows to neighborhood gossip, there are countless sources of the myths that surround divorce. Particularly when it comes to property division, myths abound and can scare divorcing spouses into feeling threatened, even paranoid. Since it is so important for spouses to keep a level head during a stressful time, addressing the myths of Texas property division may make Houston spouses breathe a little easier.

First, it is worth noting that the Texas system of community property is not as simplistic as this type of system is sometimes portrayed. Some believe that in a community property state, marital property is just split right down the middle, with each spouse getting exactly half of all marital property.

This is not the case in Texas. The courts in Texas strive for a “just and right” property division, which means that a precisely even split of property is not automatically awarded to both spouses.

There is a critical presumption under the community property system in Texas, however. The courts assume that, upon divorce, property owned by either spouse is community property, unless proven otherwise. The court allows spouses to overcome this presumption by showing evidence that property is indeed separate and not marital. This is usually done via showing when the asset was acquired, from whom and by whom.

Another myth concerning property division is that a court can award one spouse’s separate property to the other spouse. As long as an asset is demonstrated to be separate property, it will not be given to the other spouse upon divorce. Where it gets more complicated, though, is when separate property goes up in value during the marriage, and one spouse believes the community estate helped along that increase in value. This situation involves right to reimbursement. Spouses seeking this reimbursement can benefit greatly from experienced legal guidance.

Source: The Houston Chronicle, “The myths of divorcing in Texas,” May 7, 2014

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