Houston Property Settlement Lawyer
Property Settlement Lawyers Assisting The Division of Community Property and Assets in Divorce
In a Texas divorce, the court divides the couple’s community property, assets and liabilities according to what the judge believes is fair and equitable. It is important to understand that equitable does not necessarily mean equal — the judge may decide to award more of the community property to one of the spouses if he or she deems that to do so is just and right.
At Lindamood & Robinson, our experienced Houston divorce and property settlement lawyers have decades of experience guiding men and women through the process of negotiating a fair and reasonable property division settlement. As accomplished trial lawyers, we also offer dedicated representation to clients who need help fighting for what is right in court because of an unreasonable spouse.
For answers to your important questions regarding how Texas divorce and family law affects your rights and obligations in a property settlement, please contact our offices in Houston today to schedule a consultation with an experienced Houston property settlement lawyer.
What is the difference between community property and separate property?
Any asset or property acquired during the course of a marriage — by a husband and wife together or by either individual — may be considered community property. In Texas, only assets that are deemed community property are eligible for division between the parties in a divorce.
This means that any property or asset you brought into the marriage is generally considered separate property and is not subject to division. A gift or inheritance received during the course of the marriage is also generally considered to be separate property.
Unfortunately, the line between community property and separate property often becomes blurred, resulting in what is known as a complex marital estate. For example, separate property can be sold to finance the purchase of a new family home or to invest in a family business, or assets from an inheritance can be commingled with marital accounts.
Division of Property in Texas
When there is little or no marital property, no children and no spousal maintenance, spouses can usually obtain a quick divorce by having a lawyer draft a divorce agreement and having a judge approve it. Most divorces, however, are quite different and far more complex. Issues that complicate divorces include considerable marital property (both personal property and real estate), children, family businesses, large or concealed debts, trust funds, real estate in other states, joint and separate bank accounts, investments, insurance, pensions and other assets. In these complex situations, the parties often require the assistance of the court to divide their property. Working with a Texas family law lawyer at Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. will ease your stress and help you get through the process to begin your new life. Call our office in Houston today to schedule a consultation.
In Texas, community property rules govern the division of property. However, Texas, unlike other community property states, does not have to divide this community property owned by the parties equally. The court is only required to divide the property in a “just and right” manner. Any separate property is retained by the spouse who owns it.
Usually, all earnings acquired during marriage and everything obtained with those earnings are community property. All debts incurred during marriage, unless the creditor was specifically looking to the separate property of one spouse for payment, are obligations of the community property estate.
On the other hand, separate property typically includes:
- Gifts and inheritances given to only one spouse
- Personal injury damages awarded to only one spouse, except for awards for loss of earnings
- Proceeds of a pension that vested before marriage
- Property purchased with the separate funds of a spouse
- A business owned by one spouse before the marriage (although a claim for reimbursement by the community estate may arise under certain circumstances)
Conflict may arise when separate property is mixed with community property. Sometimes, one spouse may be able to identify which portion of the property is separate. One example of this is when a house is owned before marriage and continuing mortgage payments are made throughout the marriage. Otherwise if the separate property becomes mixed with the community property, and the two cannot be distinguished, the entire thing becomes community property.
Property to be divided
Certain kinds of property continue to create controversy during divorce, even under the division rules of the community property system. Divorcing couples need to be aware of these assets and the issues their division may present. Some of the most troublesome assets include:
- Family home
- Family businesses
In each case, complexities of ownership can complicate a divorce.
Speak to a Texas Property Settlement Lawyer
Many couples have a difficult time reaching an agreement about how to divide their property. Because the division of property depends on the complexity of your assets and liabilities, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable family law lawyer for assistance if you anticipate the division of property is likely to be an issue of controversy in your divorce. Call Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. in Houston, TX, today to schedule a consultation.
Contact Lindamood & Robinson today for the answers and guidance you need.
During your consultation, you will have an opportunity to discuss your case with a Houston property settlement lawyer who has extensive experience helping clients just like you obtain a fair and just property settlement. Contact our Houston property lawyers today to learn more.