Property Division FAQs

Having more questions than answers at the beginning of a Texas divorce case is not uncommon. Divorce is one of those subjects that is widely discussed but at the same time can be difficult when it comes to finding out answers that apply to your specific situation. The circumstances that you and your family are going through our unique to the two of you and your children. Although you may know other people who have gone through a divorce the reality is that their circumstances in life are different from yours even if they otherwise appear very much the same from the outside.

With both custody, conservatorship, and child support being relevant if you have children under the age of 18 and complex property matters coming into play as we consider Community property division it is no wonder that you may be left scratching your head when it comes to learning more about this process, how it works and how your family figures into it. The last thing you want to do is proceed with the divorce case when you do not have much of an understanding of the subject matter or how it could potentially impact you and your family. You may have even been putting off getting a divorce because of it.

Rather than delaying the inevitable or putting yourself in a position where you may be opening yourself up to liability due to the bad actions of your spouse, it is best to decide to move forward with the divorce after contemplation of your options. Certainly, this is a subject that you want to think clearly about and do what you can as far as working to save your marriage if possible. Avenues like counseling and therapy may be more readily available than you would have thought previously. Many employers through their human resources department offer counseling or therapy opportunities that are completely confidential. This is seen as a benefit of working for large companies.

Next, your health insurance provider may cover various types of therapy and counseling. It may be that you must Seek treatment with a provider that is in-network but otherwise, you would have the ability to choose a doctor or therapist that you feel comfortable with. The bottom line is that you can speak to these people confidentially, with your spouse, or even alone and see benefits occur in your marriage. With everything that you and your spouse have likely been through over the past few years, it would be completely normal to need an outlet to talk about some of the problems that you all have dealt with period counselors and therapists can importantly teach you communication skills that otherwise you may not possess. This can be a great advantage for you and your spouse if you have had problems with communication recently.

Next, have you and your spouse attempted to talk with the leader of your religious congregation? Pastors, priests, and other religious leaders, maybe you will be equipped to counsel you themselves if that is something that you are comfortable with. At the very least, these folks would know resources in your community that could potentially help you and your spouse. You may even have a parishioner or someone in your congregation who is a licensed marriage and family counselor who could assist you and your spouse and work through some of the tougher and rougher spots in your marriage.

The bottom line is that there are resources available to you in your community, but you need to seek them out to be able to take advantage of them. Simply sitting on your couch and hoping that the problem gets better will likely not work. Taking the situation into your own hands in attempting to work through some of these more tedious issues directly with your spouse can also be a great idea. Do not underestimate how much your spouse may be craving and in need of attention from you in this regard. Well although he or she may have been distant recently that may be completely unrelated to you. If he can begin to open the lines of communication by talking to your spouse in this way, then you may be able to avoid divorce altogether. At the very least, even if you end up getting a divorce these discussions can oftentimes lead to greater consensus on the issues of your life and can make for an easier divorce when you get there.

No matter where you end up in your relationship, if you have any questions about the material that we have covered in today’s blog post then I would encourage you to reach out and contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. We have two Houston area office locations on the north side of Houston to better serve our community. Next, phone calls are always welcome by potential clients like yourself. Finally, we can even offer video consultations over the Internet. Our attorneys and staff take a great deal of pride in caring for and advocating on behalf of our clients. It would be an honor to speak to you about your situation and how the Law Office of Bryan Fagan may be best positioned to help you and your family.

Is all the property you own subject to division in a divorce case?

Probably the most common question that the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are asked regarding property division-related subject matter is what property exactly is subject to division. Different people talk about different things when it comes to property division. Sometimes we are told that all property that we own is subject to division in a divorce no matter when we came to own it. On the other hand, you hear from other people that only property that is titled in your name or purchased with your money is subject to division.

What we need to find out in today’s blog post is whether rough property exactly is subject to division and how property-related subject matter can impact your case in your family moving forward. Certainly, most people want to be fair when it comes to dividing property in a divorce. If being fair with property can speed up the process of your divorce then that is something that likely appeals to you, as well. However, at the same time, you do not want to put yourself in the position where you lose out on the property and suffer financially unless it becomes necessary. Therefore, understanding the basics of Texas property law and how the law interacts with your specific circumstances are the keys to being able to comfortably move forward in a case.

For starters, Texas is a community property state. Community property assumes that all property in existence between you and your spouse at the time of your divorce is owned in part of the community estate. Most importantly this means that a family court judge would then be eligible to divide the property up and adjust and the right manner. Just in the right manner does not mean that dividing up all a couple’s property right down the middle is appropriate. Although this may be the result of your case a just and right division means an equitable division that is based on principles of fairness.

Practically speaking, what does this mean for you? Well, a family court judge would consider several different issues if the subject of property division arises in your divorce. These factors include things like your age, your levels of health, your job experience, the separate property you own, and your job prospects for the future. All these factors will be looked at in addition to others before a judge determines how to divide Community property. The court also can consider additional factors based on that judge’s experience and the specific circumstances of your case.

Since we are dealing with questions of equity and fairness Community property oftentimes can be divided in a way that is not exactly right down the middle. If your job prospects are great and you own a significant amount of separate property that is not subject to division then your spouse may be in line to receive greater than half of the community estate. The same will be said for you if you had not worked in some time and had little separate property to fall back on.

One of the first issues that I like to point out to people regarding Texas divorce cases is that community income such as income from a job, or not the property of you or your spouse individually. Rather, this income will be classified as Community property and thus is divisible in a divorce. This can come with a great shock to many people given that their understanding is that if money from your job is placed into a bank account with your name on it then the property would count as that spouse’s separate property.

However, this is not the case in Texas. With limited exceptions, income earned during your marriage is community income. This can even be true if the income that you were income from separate property investments or assets. As you can probably tell, there is no such thing as my income or their income in the Texas divorce case. For most everyone who reads this blog post, there is only an hour of income that would need to be divided between you and your spouse.

As a result, it doesn’t matter whose income was used to purchase a piece of property or whose name the property is titled. Rather, all that matters regarding your divorce case is that if the property was purchased during a row marriage it would be considered to be Community property. The numbers in play can get rather large when you consider that retirement accounts, bank accounts, and other investments may be in play for your divorce. There’s nothing else, they should encourage you to work with an experienced family law attorney as you learn how to navigate the constantly evolving waters of a Texas divorce case.

Will the judge always be the person who makes final decisions on property division?

Not. One of the false assumptions that people tend to make about Texas divorces is that the judge is always going to be the one to make the final decisions in your case. While it is true that a family court judge can and oftentimes does make sweeping pronouncements in a divorce as far as final orders go, it is just as true that people in your shoes settle your case rather than proceed into a litigation scenario inside the court.

The reason why many judges are completely taken out of the equation when it comes to deciding a divorce is when the parties worked together to settle their case. There are multiple ways to settle a divorce case. The first would be to file an uncontested divorce from the very beginning. A contested divorce occurs when you and your spouse agree on every single issue relevant to your case. This can be a rather high hurdle to get over but there are people in your position that agree on largely every issue of their case.

If you and your spouse believe that you are in this position, then you should still consider speaking to an inexperienced family law attorney. Your divorce case would still need to be filed and orders would still need to be drafted and submitted to the court for their approval even if yours is an uncontested divorce. The last thing you want is to believe you have an uncontested divorce but then never really figure out how to get the ball rolling by having a case filed. Rather, you can hire an attorney to file your case and then work with you to draft court orders that reflect the agreements that you and your spouse had come to previously.

Next, even if you and your spouse need to file a contested divorce that is not the end of the world. Just because you have filed a divorce case does not mean that you and your spouse are going to spend an extremely long time fighting about the case and arguing over petty details associated with the divorce. Although many spouses do run into a situation where this is true you all can be the exception rather than the rule. By hiring experienced family law attorneys, the two of you can avoid extended periods where you and your spouse argue about the details of every case and instead spend more time going over details and working with one another 2 come up with equitable orders that are mutually beneficial.

While there certainly is a time and a place for effective courtroom advocacy a good family law attorney will tell you that you should not seek out litigation when dialogue is preferable and possible. By hiring an experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan we can help you take advantage of our years of experience in negotiation during complex and contentious divorce cases. We pride ourselves that only on being able to advocate strongly for our clients in the courtroom but also to be effective advocates in the negotiation room, as well.

The place where family law cases most frequently end is in mediation. Mediation is a setting whereby you and your spouse mutually agree to name a third-party mediator to be the person who will help bridge the divide between the two of you on several subjects in negotiation. The two of you will attend a mediation session where both you and your attorneys meet at the mediator’s office with each of you in separate rooms. They are the mediator who will act like a ping pong ball bouncing back and forth between the two of your rooms. In that scenario, the mediator can convey settlement offers, give suggestions on how to bridge some of the divides, and otherwise play peacemaker. Having an objective and unemotional participant in the process can speed up negotiations and make them more fruitful.

At the end of the day, if you and your spouse have been able to settle upon any issues in mediation then a mediated settlement agreement will be drafted. This document will contain the list of your agreements for the day and will give the attorneys a good jumping-off point as far as drafting final orders for the end of your case. Coming to mediation prepared with financial documents and other paperwork related to your property division is a good place to start. Your attorney will help you prepare for mediation specifically regarding dividing property and thinking ahead to your post-divorce life.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video, these consultations can be a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Mediation FAQs
  2. Divorce FAQs for Texas families
  3. How to Retain Your Separate Property in Divorce
  4. Is the division of property always fifty-fifty? What factors are considered in an unequal distribution of property?
  5. What does the term property include in a Texas divorce?
  6. The details on community property division in Texas
  7. An overview of how to divide marital property in a Texas divorce
  8. What is the valuation of property?
  9. Dividing Your Property and Debt in a Divorce
  10. What Would Happen to Your Property if You Die in the Middle of Your Divorce Case?

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, and surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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