Divorce can be contentious but even in an amicable parting, property division can turn relations sour. Even the smallest “things” can carry emotional attachments that make the divorce more difficult. Complicating matters is the Texas Family Code which asks the court to make a “Just and Right Equitable Division” of the estate. Stakes are high, and parties are best served by working with experienced legal counsel to help secure the best possible outcome.
The divorce attorneys of Scroggins Law Group are well-equipped to handle the challenges of property division. With over 100 years of combined experience, our family lawyers are committed to maximizing your fair share of the marital property with detailed guidance and aggressive, client-focused representation.
It is not just property but also debts that are divided in a Texas divorce. What can be confusing is that different factors affect the division of property versus the division of debt. Additionally, the division of property can have financial impacts that can affect the future of each former spouse.
The issue of property and debt can also be intertwined. For example, property purchased on credit during a marriage is jointly held by both spouses unless there exists an express agreement by the lender to look solely to the purchasing spouse for payment. It may be necessary to craft a debt division plan that considers all sorts of joint marital obligations, including credit card debt, home mortgages, student loans, and medical bills.
Regardless of whether you and your ex agree on how to divide your property or the court decides after a trial, you will eventually have an enforceable divorce decree stating the details of your property division. If you come to a voluntary agreement, you have some flexibility in how you divide the property. However, community property laws will doubtless have an impact on how you do it. If the judge must decide for you, the decree of divorce will be based on Texas’s community property laws.
Because Texas is a community property state, any property or debt acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community property – property of both spouses equally but to be divided based on a “just and right” equitable determination. This can be confusing because “equitable” and “equal” are not the same – division is not down the middle but based on factors such 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.
All property held by the couple must go through this determination, including:
Very often, issues emerge surrounding community and separate property that make it difficult to determine how it should be divided. For example, separate property can change form with exchange or sale during the marriage. Perhaps the value of the separate property is later “commingled” to acquire a new marital asset. Evidence that demonstrates the current nature of property may best be accomplished with the help of a tracing expert who can examine the transactional paper trail. Professional tracers can help prove the character and value of the original asset from the date of acquisition to the present.
The attorneys of Scroggins Law Group work hard to determine what is rightfully yours while also helping to ease tension during this vulnerable period.
Mark L. Scroggins is board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and works with a team of dedicated professionals.
Our Texas divorce attorneys are devoted to helping our clients achieve fair and favorable results. When it comes to property division matters, you want to make sure that you have skilled legal counsel to avoid an 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 family attorneys are standing by your side, advocating for your best interests. Choose a law firm that is committed to protecting your rights during the divorce process. Scroggins Law Group is an award-winning law firm dedicated to client satisfaction, and we are here to help.
To learn more about our family law services, contact us today at 214-469-3100 and schedule a confidential consultation.
Texas Family Code, Title 1. The Marriage Relationship Subtitle B. Property Rights and Liabilities Chapter 3. Marital Property Rights and Liabilities Subchapter A. General Rules for Separate and Community Property, https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.3.htm
Texas Family Code, Title 1. The Marriage Relationship Subtitle C. Dissolution of Marriage Chapter 7. Award of Marital Property, https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.7.htm
*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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