Divorce can be a challenging and emotional process, and one of the important aspects that spouses must navigate is the division of assets.
In Texas, the courts follow specific guidelines to determine how to distribute property and belongings between the parties involved. Understanding how courts make this decision helps you plan for the future.
Community property principle
Texas operates under the community property principle, meaning that marital assets are generally considered community property. This includes any property acquired during the marriage, with a few exceptions for gifts, inheritances and personal injury settlements.
Identification and valuation of assets
The first step in the asset division process is the identification and valuation of all community property. This involves listing and assessing the value of assets such as real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, investments and personal belongings acquired during the marriage.
Debts and liabilities
Alongside assets, the court also takes into account any debts or liabilities accrued during the marriage. The goal is to achieve a fair and equitable distribution, considering both the positive and negative financial aspects of the marital estate.
Factors influencing division
Courts consider various factors when deciding how to divide assets. The court considers the earning capacity of each spouse, their education and health. The court also considers any disparities in the contributions made by each party to the marriage, both financially and in terms of homemaking or childcare responsibilities.
Just and right division
The overarching principle guiding asset division in Texas is that it should be “just and right.” While this does not necessarily mean an equal 50-50 split, the court aims to ensure a fair distribution based on the unique circumstances of each case. The goal is to prevent any unfair advantage to one party over the other.
Mediation and settlement
Before going to court, spouses should try mediation or reach a settlement agreement. This allows them to have more control over the outcome and can be less adversarial than a court proceeding. If they reach an agreement, the court will review and approve it, incorporating it into the final divorce decree.
Understanding these guidelines for asset division can help spouses navigate this aspect of divorce and work towards a fair resolution.