Q:I just inherited property from a relative; Does this count as community property?
A:An inheritance from a deceased relative that is acquired during your marriage is part of your separate estate. This is an exception to the generally held rule in Texas that property acquired during your marriage is community property for the purposes of getting a divorce. Separately held property is not subject to division by a family court judge in the divorce. However, you may be in a position where you need to prove how the property was acquired for a judge to classify it as separately owned.
Q:Are debts divided in a Montgomery County divorce?
A:Yes, debts are treated like property in Montgomery County divorces. Debts acquired during the marriage are community debts and are therefore subject to being divided up between you and your spouse. Even if your name isn’t on the debt there is a chance that you could become responsible for paying that debt as part of a divorce settlement or trial. As a result, it is important for you have exceptional representation in negotiating the division of debts in your divorce.
Q:Will I need to split up by 401(K) or other retirement plan in my divorce?
A:It depends upon the specific circumstances of your divorce. Money contributed to a retirement plan like a 401(K) during your marriage is community property and is subject to being divided up in your divorce. Any increase in value of the plan during your marriage (growth) is also subject to division. Determining the value of the plan at the beginning of your marriage and then at the beginning of your divorce will give you a rough estimate of the community property value of your retirement plan.
Q:What about credit cards and student loans? Who will pay those after the divorce?
A:In Texas, you and your spouse will be given wide latitude when it comes to dividing up community property. If a debt like a credit card or student loan is community property, then it will need to be divided in the divorce- either by you or by the family court judge. Even if the debt does not have your name, you may still be required to pay a portion or all of it based on the outcome of your case. Separate property debts, those acquired prior to your marriage, are not divisible in the divorce.
Q:Is alimony something that I can get in my divorce?
A:Yes. The concept of alimony exists in Texas divorces although it is known here as either contractual alimony or spousal maintenance. Contractual alimony is spousal support as negotiated upon in mediation. Spousal maintenance, on the other hand, is a type of spousal support that is post-divorce and ordered by a judge after a trial. Typically, you and your spouse must have been married for at least ten years for you to be eligible to receive spousal maintenance.