Divorcing after several decades of marriage often involves dividing multiple properties, high-valued collectibles and substantial retirement funds. This process takes time and can cause disagreements about what belongs to whom. Especially if one spouse believes that most property is theirs because they were the only person earning an income during the marriage.
Understanding Texas divorce laws may help couples know what to expect when dividing assets.
Community vs. separate property
The first step in asset division is determining what property belongs to whom. Texas divorce laws state that assets belonging to an individual before marriage remain separate property. The same is true for inheritances, lawsuit winnings and gifts.
On the other hand, most property obtained during the marriage belongs to both people. As a result, couples must separate these assets.
Fair division of assets
Though Texas is a community property state, the division of assets is not always a 50/50 split. The courts consider the following when determining what the just and right division of property should be:
- Fault in the divorce
- Future earning ability of each person
- Value of separate property
- How long the marriage lasted
- Each individual’s health
Depending on the circumstances, judges may determine that one spouse has the right to a more significant portion of the assets. However, property division is not directly proportional to the amount of income one spouse earned during the marriage.
Knowing that Texas law assumes all income and property acquired during a marriage belongs equally to both spouses may help people reach agreements about asset division more efficiently.