For many Texas couples, dividing their property can be one of the most complex aspects of getting divorced. If they are unable to reach a reasonable agreement on their own, the decision of how to split their assets falls to the court. Therefore, it is important for people to understand the state’s laws regarding property division and the factors that may determine how the court makes its determination.
In the event of a divorce, each spouse may be entitled to retain ownership of certain property. Known as separate property, this includes the assets they owned before their marriages, property received over the course of their marriages through gift or inheritance, and personal injury judgments ordered in their favor during their marriages.
Community property, on the other hand, is the assets that either spouse acquires during their marriages that are not considered separate property. Texas is a community property state. As such, with few exceptions, both spouses equally own their shared property. When it comes to dividing these assets during a divorce, this means that each spouse may have an equal claim. According to Texas state law, the couple’s shared estates should be divided in a way that is considered just and right by the court.
In making its determination, the court may consider the rights of each spouse, as well as those of any children whom they share. According to FindLaw, when dividing community property, the court may also take into account other factors such as the following:
- Age differences between the spouses
- Each spouse’s physical health or condition
- Gaps in the spouses’ incomes or earning capacities
- The size of their shared estate
- Any anticipated inheritances
- Primary custody of their shared children
Further, the court may consider whether one of the spouses is at fault for the divorce. For example, if adultery or severe cruelty were present. Based on these factors, the community property may not be divided into equal shares; but rather, the spouses may receive disproportionate awards.