In a previous blog article, “His, Hers and Ours - Texas Divorce” we discussed the difference between community property and separate property. At its core it is a fairly easy concept to understand. However, some of my clients still have trouble understanding it in certain situations such as buying a house while they are still married.
I believe one of the reasons for this because they have often separated, maybe have found a new significant other, and ready to be done with their ex but the divorce is dragging on. As a Houston Divorce Lawyer, I see the topic of buying a house while still married come up fairly regularly so I will discuss this topic in regards to a Texas Divorce Case.
Texas is a Community Property State
As I indicated above Texas is a community property state. In Texas we do not have "legal separation."
This means just because you buy a real or personal property without your spouse that the property you buy will be your separate property after the divorce. One of the things I tell my clients is that community property is anything you acquire from the day you are married until the day you are divorced. There a few exceptions to that rule which you can read about in one of our other blog articles.
Standing Orders or Injunctions
In many Texas Counties when a divorce is filed, "standing orders" go into place. This means that a Court Order automatically goes into place Ordering you not to spend community funds on items other than normal living expenses, legal fees, or community debts. In other words, while the divorce is ongoing you are not to spend money freely otherwise you are in violation of a court order.
If you violate a Court Order this can have a negative impact on your portion of the property split. If you were to ignore the Courts Order and buy a home the Court may award it to your spouse or in the alternative give you less of the marital property. This might mean instead of a 50/50 split of the marital property there might be a 70/30 split of the marital property.
Purchasing a House While Married can be Complicated
When you are still married your spouse will still legally be involved. There will be a credit check performed. Title companies are required to follow Texas community property law. If you are taking out a mortgage, then then mortgage company will require your spouse to sign a document that they are aware you encumbering the property you are buying.
Buying a House During a Divorce may not be a Good Financial Decision
It may not be a good financial decision to buy a house during a divorce. Divorces are expensive. Something to think about is you have money going to attorney fees, bills have doubled, and you may have to buy new things such as a bed, couch, etc.
You may not get all the property that you thought, you were going to get in the divorce. You may also get more of the debt then you expected. It is difficult to know what your financial situation will be after the divorce.
Holding off on purchasing a new house until after the divorce is probably a wise decision. After the divorce you will have a better idea what your financial situation is and whether you will be able to afford this new purchase.
Maybe it is Ok to Buy the House During the Divorce
In some situations, buying a house during the divorce will not hurt you. If this is something you would like to proceed first seek the advice of your Texas divorce lawyer. Do not proceed on your own without informing your divorce lawyer.
One of my clients did purchase a house without telling me. In that case her husband went after the house she purchased asking that it be awarded to him. I was able to help her keep the house. However, she ended up having to pay additional attorney fees for several hearings we could have avoided had she informed me of her plans beforehand.
There are legal steps we can take to make sure that you are not violating a Court Order or an agreement with the other side. Often times are also able to get your spouse's cooperation.
Some of the things we can do to protect you include making sure that this home purchase is part of a marital partition agreement or mediated settlement agreement. Taking these steps before hand makes sure your spouse does not cause trouble in the future.
Before rushing into anything contact one of the divorce attorney’s at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan who will be able to evaluate your situation and give you advice based on the facts of your case and the Texas family code and property law.
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring, Texas Family Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring Family Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our Family lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Family cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.