One of the biggest concerns my clients have is regarding their property and debt accumulated during the marriage. Financial issues are a common cause of divorce and the fear that you will lose the house or end up with a lot of debt from divorce prevents a lot of people from leaving an unhappy marriage. This article will explain the most common scenarios that can happen during a divorce, but each person’s situation is unique so please feel free to contact our firm for a free consultation on your specific circumstances.
The most important rule in Texas is that there are two types of property recognized by the court during the divorce process. All of your property will fall into two categories. Anything owned by either you or your spouse at the time of your divorce will be either community property or separate property. Anything the court considers community property can be divided by the court in a “just and right” manner which does not always mean 50/50. Anything that can be proved to be your separate property can’t be divided by the court in the divorce process.
Community property usually consists of any property bought during your marriage including real estate, cars, personal items, and more. This is one of the reasons why getting a divorce is so important. As long as you are not legally divorced, anything you purchase even while separated could be considered community property and your ex could have a legal claim to it. The law in Texas is to presume anything owned by either you or your spouse is community property. There are some exceptions to that rule and you are able to provide clear and convincing evidence to the court that certain property should be considered your separate property.
Anything that you owned prior to marriage can be proven to be your separate property, but some assets will generate income over time and the income generated during your marriage could be considered community property. Certain assets that you acquire during marriage can also be considered separate property. These assets include gifts or inheritance given to you or a personal injury settlement. Also, if you can prove that assets were purchased with your separate property, then you have an argument that the assets should be considered your separate property.
One of the best ways to protect your assets is gather all of your documents related to the properties and contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin the divorce process. Once you initiate the divorce process, there are orders that go into place that prohibit either you or your spouse from trying to sabotage or hide assets involved in the divorce process. Another issue that can play a big affect on the divorce proceedings is whether you have a Premarital Agreement in effect.