Division of Property

Getting A Divorce In Texas: The Division Of Marital Property

One of the first questions when it comes to getting a divorce is “Who gets what?” Remember, just because an asset was in one spouse’s name, that does not make it his or her property. In Texas, marital property is classified in two ways: 1) community property and 2) separate property.

Unless rights to your assets have been varied or established by a prenuptial agreement, you can expect a court to view and characterize certain property as follows:

Community Property

All marital property is presumed to be community property. Furthermore, anything that is not proven to be separate property is community property. Broadly speaking, community property is property acquired during the course of marriage (by either spouse), and all community property may be divided by a judge. Some examples of assets that are generally considered community property are: income earned during the marriage; life insurance policies where the initial premium was paid from community funds; real property acquired during the marriage; personal injury awards for lost wages, lost earning capacity, and medical bills; and delay rentals paid by the lessee on mineral interests whether the mineral interest itself is separate or community.

Separate Property

Separate property is property acquired by one spouse before the marriage, or by gift or inheritance during the marriage. Separate property may not be divided by a judge. Some examples of assets that are generally considered separate property are: income from a trust; income from separate property (for example, rental property); increase in value of separate property; personal injury awards for pain and suffering or loss of consortium; and life insurance policies where the initial premium was paid from separate funds.

That said, the burden of proof to establish that certain property is truly separate property is considerable. In the course of marriage, lines between separate and community property inevitably become blurred. Untangling and tracing joint contributions to separate retirement accounts, payments made from one spouse’s separate funds to improve community property, separate funds commingled with community funds in joint bank accounts, etc., is difficult but certainly not impossible.

Keeping Score In Complex And High-Asset Divorces

Keeping score to assert your rights to your assets is not your job; it is ours. When couples with substantial property divorce, establishing cause, contributions and injuries can be a complex legal and accounting endeavor, so you need a divorce law firm with the resources to both build and present your case compellingly. The Jim Ross Law Group, P.C., has these capabilities, and we have a strong track record of winning favorable and fair divorce settlements for our clients. Consult a divorce attorney you trust to help you establish your contribution to the marriage, and determine the appropriate course of action.

Arlington High Asset Divorce Lawyer

At the Arlington, Texas law firm of the Jim Ross Law Group, P.C., we represent people throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in matters of asset division during divorce. Our law firm handles divorces involving many types of complex and sophisticated assets, including:

Arlington Divorce & Business Attorney

At the Jim Ross Law Group, P.C., many of our clients are professionals. They are doctors, lawyers, franchisees and successful business owners who now face divorce. As their attorneys, we take forceful action that protects our clients’ interests when assets and debts are divided.

Division of Retirement Accounts

Protecting Your Financial Interests

One of the more complicated aspects of a divorce involves dividing retirement accounts. Not only are there complex valuations to consider, but also tax implications and the timing of division or payout. Because retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s or 403(b)s can account for a significant portion of a couple’s net worth, it is highly important to have a qualified attorney address this issue.

Community Property Division in Texas

Texas is a community property state. If you’re not a lawyer, that probably does not mean much. But it will affect you significantly in a divorce. Because Texas is a community property state, the judge in your divorce case is obligated to weigh all the facts and devise a “just and right” division of assets and debts.

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