Community Property State
When filing for a divorce in Texas, typically, the most contentious issue is property division. It’s important to note Texas is a community property state, meaning that all property acquired and all income earned by both spouses during the marriage is communal property, belonging to both spouses equally.
Accordingly, Texas courts split all marital property equally between the separating spouses. Similarly, the debt accumulated between the spouses is communal and belongs to both spouses equally. Despite this equal entitlement, the Court may order an unequal division if there are “just and right” reasons to do so.
Separate Property and Debt
Although Texas is a community property state, Texas does acknowledge separate property, defined as follows:
- property received as a gift or inheritance to one spouse during the marriage
- property claimed or owned by one spouse before the marriage
- capital gains and stock dividends on the separate property investments of one spouse
- money received by one spouse for personal injuries that occurred during the marriage (not including money received for medical expenses or lost wages)
In some cases, the spouses mutually agree on separate property. However, if the spouses aren’t in agreeance, one spouse must prove separate property by “clear and convincing evidence.” Should they fail to do so, it will be considered communal property. However, when filing for a divorce in Texas, there are exceptions to these general rules. You must retain a lawyer to fight for your equal division of property.
Regardless of the division of debt by the Court, the Final Divorce Decree doesn’t affect a creditor’s right to collect on a debt. Meaning, if the debt was initially in both spouses’ names (say a mortgage), and your spouse doesn’t pay their half, a creditor can still seek payment from you. Your lawyer will be able to offer avenues for protection from these creditors.
Pre- & Post- Nuptial Agreements
Nuptial agreements are either signed before (prenuptial) or during a marriage (postnuptial). These agreements define which property is marital and which is separate. Nuptial agreements tend to simplify the division of property should the marriage end in divorce.
Although, not all nuptial agreements are valid. The validity can be disputed if one of the following circumstances occurred:
- one or both spouses didn’t sign the agreement properly
- the agreement was based on misrepresentations or includes fraud
- a spouse didn’t enter the agreement voluntarily
The Final Divorce Decree
Upon the completion of filing for divorce in Texas, the Court will divide your debt and property by signing a Final Divorce Decree. This Final Decree of Divorce will:
- list the debts each spouse is ordered to pay
- list the community property each spouse will keep or occasionally order community property (like a house) sold to determine how the proceeds should be split
- order the communal property retirement benefits of each spouse are either:
- __divided between the spouses
- __granted 100% to the spouse who earned the benefits
We know navigating the waters of divorce proceedings is stressful; we are here to help. Give us a call or send us a message today, and we will endeavor to make your transition as smooth as possible.
To find out how we can help you with filing for divorce in Texas, contact an Austin Divorce Lawyer at 512-400-7070 or send us a message. We will schedule an initial client consultation to review your case details and lay out a game plan for your divorce in Texas. AZ Law Firm will pursue the legal action necessary to secure the fairest possible divorce for you and your loved ones.
- evaluating and explaining to you the pros and cons of your individual case
- discussing with you any available options and our proposed strategies as it relates to your case
- providing guidance and recommendations regarding any proposed settlement offer
- quickly and effectively communicating with you during each step of the process so that you are not left in the dark
- taking your case solely on a contingent fee basis
- and aggressively protecting and defending your rights
We understand times are tough and that there probably hasn’t been a tougher time in your life. Although we could get away with charging exuberant amounts, we prefer not to as we are a law firm by the people, for the people. We do not want you to worry about whether you can afford to hire an attorney to protect and defend your rights. Call us and be surprised at the quality you receive compared to what other law firms will quote you!
Accordingly, the attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, one of our divorce lawyers will evaluate your case, inform you of any legal options that may be available, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm offers affordable rates for all our clients and will work with you on payment plans. Our firm accepts checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of your legal representation.