Property division is often one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce. If you and your spouse own real estate, deciding how to handle the family home and land can be complex and emotionally charged.
Over 6.18 million Texan households own the house they occupy, according to the Texas Demographic Center, making this a widespread issue that can impact families across the state.
Community property in Texas
In Texas, property you and your spouse own falls into two categories: separate property and community property. Separate property includes anything you owned before marriage or received as a gift or inheritance during marriage. Community property refers to assets acquired during your marriage, usually through earned income.
Division of community property
During divorce, separate property remains with its original owner, and the court cannot award it to the other spouse. Community property requires valuation and equitable division. This process may involve selling the property or offsetting its value against other assets.
Real estate purchased during the marriage usually counts as community property, even if it appears only in one spouse’s name. However, there are exceptional cases. For instance, if you purchase property using separate funds, that property typically remains separate.
Property ownership options
Moving out of your home during divorce proceedings does not forfeit your rights to the property. You maintain your legal stake in the property until the court finalizes the divorce.
After divorce, one spouse can take full ownership of a piece of property, or you can both sell it together. To transfer ownership to one spouse, it is often necessary to refinance the mortgage and remove the other person’s name. This step ensures that one party takes sole responsibility for the mortgage in the future.
Understanding the laws and rules about property division in Texas helps you navigate this challenging aspect of divorce. You can make informed decisions that protect your financial and emotional investment in your real estate assets.