Texas Division of Marital and Community Property Attorney
Top-Rated Houston Asset Division Lawyers Serving All of Southeast Texas
Aside from legal disputes involving children, the division of property is typically the most fiercely contested issue in a Texas divorce case. At the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, our firm has experience handling very complex marital property distribution cases. No matter what assets you and your spouse own, our Texas property division lawyer can help you find the best, most efficient solution.
What are Community Property and Separate Property?
Community Property—What You Acquired Together
There is an easy, quick way to understand community property—it is any property you acquired while married. Generally, it does not matter whose name is on the title to the house, boat, or car. What matters is that you were married when one of you acquired the property.
Wages earned are also community property, as is anything bought with wages. If your husband bought a condo secretly using only his wages, the condo is still community property, which means each spouse owns a 50% stake in the property. Usually, community property is divided 50/50 upon divorce.
Separate property is often something you owned before getting married and brought into the marriage, such as the car you bought six months before walking down the aisle. It can also be a retirement account, cash in a checking account, or investments. However, income earned on a separate property is often community property. For example, if you own a rental property, then the rent earned while married belongs to both you and your spouse.
Texas law also considers some property obtained while married as “separate” property, such as:
- An inheritance. Say your mother died while you were married and left only you her home. Typically, the inheritance is your separate property.
- A gift. If someone gave you a gift, then it is yours.
- Some recoveries for personal injury claims. If a driver struck you, and you have a lawsuit seeking compensation, then the money is typically yours. You do not have to share it.
Sometimes there is a good faith dispute as to whether something is community property or separate property. For example, a family friend might have given you an expensive gift. But was it really for you and your spouse? A lot will depend on the facts.
Texas is a Community Property State
Unlike the majority of American states, Texas is a community property jurisdiction. Under community property rules, all of a couple’s assets that are acquired after the date of the marriage are presumed to be jointly owned. To prove separate ownership, a spouse has the burden of presenting strong evidence. This is an important distinction, as jointly owned assets will be divided in an equal manner.
What Falls Outside of Community Property Rules in Texas?
First and foremost, any assets or debts that were brought into the marriage are typically considered to be separate property. Additionally, if you received an inheritance, a bequest, or personal gifts during the marriage, those will also be considered yours and yours alone. Though, this designation is not always straightforward, as sometimes separate property can become joint property over time. Where this can become complicated is when assets are brought into the marriage, sold, and the proceeds become commingled in the “marriage pot.” The same scenario also applies to money received as part of an inheritance.
We Handle Complex Property Division Cases in Texas
For some couples, splitting up the marital assets may not prove to be a difficult process. Some assets and debts are relatively easy to divide. For example, if you and your spouse own a joint bank account with $20,000 deposited inside, it likely will not be hard to divide that money. However, most Texas couples with substantial assets do not simply own cash. Non-cash assets can be very difficult to divide. Some common examples of complex assets we work with include:
- Retirement benefits;
- Investment accounts;
- Pension benefits and other employee benefits;
- Business related assets;
- Complex debts;
- Real estate; and
- Valuable real property.
If you have complex assets, we will protect your legal rights and financial interests. Our firm works with financial specialists and accountants to sort out these complex divorce issues and also to identify and locate any marital assets that have been hidden or not yet taken into consideration; and we use legal tools to make sure that assets are divided in the most desirable manner.
Contact Our Texas Asset Division Lawyers Today
If you are getting divorced in Texas, and you have any questions or concerns about the division of your assets and debts, we can help. At the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, our Texas family law lawyers have the required skills and legal knowledge needed to protect your rights. Please do not hesitate to contact us today to get started. From our offices in Houston, League City and Galveston, we represent family law clients in Harris County, Galveston County and all around Southeast Texas.
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