An essential component of every divorce is the division of marital assets. This is true whether you and your spouse accumulated great wealth or lived a more modest lifestyle during your marriage. Securing the assets you are entitled to in your divorce can have significant implications for you and your children’s future. Therefore, it is important to contact a skilled Pearland property division lawyer when going through this process. One of our divorce attorneys could protect your right to a fair distribution of your property.
Separate Vs Community Property
Texas is a community property state, and under Texas Family Code §3.002, assets acquired during a marriage are shared property subject to division in a divorce. However, not all assets are community property. If one spouse owned property before they married, inherited money during the marriage, or received a gift from a third party, these assets would generally not become part of the marital estate, therefore, would not be subject to division.
In some cases, a parent may combine or ‘commingle’ separate property with community property. For example, if a parent uses their inheritance to purchase a home for them and their children, and both parents contribute to the mortgage, the inheritance could become community property.
Determining this separation between community and separate property is critical to a fair distribution of a couple’s assets. However, doing so can be challenging if parents combined their assets without agreeing on how they would be divided if they divorce. A knowledgeable attorney in Pearland could help a parent determine what assets may be subject to division during the property distribution process.
Types Of Community Property
Many people think of community property like real estate and bank accounts. However, a marital estate may be comprised of various types of assets. Some of these include:
- Pensions and retirement accounts
- Vested and unvested stock options
- Intellectual property, including patents, copyrights and trademarks
- Publicly and privately-held businesses
- Rare collections, including wine, art and coins
- Vacation homes and rental properties
It is vital to ensure that all a couple’s property has been identified and valued before negotiating a divorce settlement or presenting the case to a judge. A seasoned property division attorney in Pearland could zealously advocate for a parent’s interests in the community assets.
Factors That Impact Property Division
If parents enter a written property division agreement, a judge can approve that contract and incorporate it in a final divorce decree. Under state law, the marital contract must address all the couple’s assets and liabilities and be fair to both sides.
When parents disagree on asset division, a judge will consider various factors and divide their property in a manner that is ‘just and right.’ A judge may consider multiple factors to make this determination, including but not limited to each spouse’s:
- Age and health
- Earning capacity
- Employment history
- Opportunity to gain the skills necessary to obtain employment
Even if one parent earns a higher income and has purchased most of the couple’s property, the other party still has an interest in it. A judge may consider their nonmonetary contributions, such as caring for the home and children, during the property division process as well. An experienced lawyer in the Pearland area could explain what factors might impact the judge’s decision on property division and could advise a parent considering divorce.
The Impact Of Marital Fault On The Division of Assets
State law permits both fault and no-fault divorces. If one spouse’s marital misconduct contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, that spouse could be penalized in the asset division process. Marital fault could also play a role in property division if the misconduct created an economic hardship on the family. For example, if one parent’s excessive gambling caused the couple to lose their home, a judge could compensate the other spouse for that loss.
Speak With A Knowledgeable Pearland Property Division Attorney
The assets you acquire during your marriage can be difficult to divide amicably if you and your spouse decide to divorce. You may not know where to turn for help during this critical process that affects both you and your children in the long term.
A practiced Pearland property division lawyer could take the time to understand what matters most to you as you move to a new chapter in your life. Our caring attorneys could prioritize you and your children and work tirelessly to protect your financial future. Contact us online or call us at 713-714-3710 in Houston or at 512-572-1207 in Austin.