Divorce is oftentimes a very contentious matter that requires skilled legal counsel to keep things from escalating. Part of the process that turns couples against each other is property division. Texas is a community property state. When dividing property, the assets are split into two different categories: community and separate.
Property must be characterized as separate or community property before the court can divide the estate, as the court can only divide the parties’ community property. The court lacks the jurisdiction to award the separate property of one spouse to the other.
If you are contemplating divorce and you are unsure of the characterization of your property, you should seek assistance from a board-certified family lawyer. If you believe your spouse will contest what is in question, what is to be divided, or what each party’s, we would highly recommend you contact our team of legal experts at Scroggins Law group as soon as possible.
Separate property is defined by the Texas Family Code as: The property owned or claimed by the spouse before marriage; (2) The property acquired by the spouse during marriage by gift, devise or descent; and (3) The recovery for personal injuries sustained by the spouse during marriage, except for any recovery for loss of earning capacity during marriage.
Community property is defined in the Family Code as: Property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during their marriage. It is also further defined, by case law, as any property or rights acquired by one of the spouses after marriage by toil, talent, industry or another productive faculty, and as property acquired during marriage other than by gift, devise or descent that is the product of the unique, joint endeavor undertaken by the spouses.
Very often, there are disagreements in a divorce. It is uncommon all parties involved are on the same page regarding whose is whose, and how to divide the marital assets and debts. An understanding and compassionate divorce expert will be able to correctly identify what is rightfully yours, ease the tension of any misunderstandings, and protect you during this stressful period.
Property purchased on credit during a marriage is community property, unless there exists an express agreement on the part of the lender to look solely to the separate estate of the purchasing spouse for satisfaction of the indebtedness. Debts undertaken during marriage are presumed to be debts for which the community estate is responsible, but this presumption may be rebutted by proof that the lender agreed to look only to the separate property of the borrowing spouse for repayment.
The community property presumption applies not only to assets but to liabilities. Therefore, a debt which arises before marriage should be treated as the incurring spouse’s separate debt and cannot be assigned to the non-incurring spouse. Basically, if you or the other party has debt or liabilities before you are married, those are considered separate property, which cannot be divided by the court. If these are disagreed upon, it is the responsibility of the party claiming otherwise to provide proof with clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.
At Scroggins Law Group, our Dallas divorce attorneys are devoted to helping our clients seek the favorable results they desire. When it comes to property division matters, you want to make sure that you have skilled legal counsel in order to avoid unfair division. We are compassionate when communicating with you, but we are aggressive when litigating on your behalf.
When you hire our firm to represent your case, you can rest assured that skilled trial lawyers are standing by your side, advocating for your best interests. We utilize our combination of over 4 decades of experience to help you during an already difficult time. Don’t allow your rights to be taken advantage of during the divorce process. Hire an award-winning law firm with a commitment to client satisfaction, Scroggins Law Group.
To learn more about our family law services, contact us today at 214-469-3100 to learn how we can help.
*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.
**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
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