Couples that decide to divorce must make many important decisions. In addition to the critical issues of child custody, visitation and child support, married couples must also address the division of their property. Today's blog post will summarize the main issues surrounding property division in Texas.
The first step in analyzing the property issues is to characterize each item of property as either "community" or "separate". All property owned or claimed by either party at the time of divorce is legally presumed to be community property. Each party then has the opportunity, and burden of proof, to show that certain items are separate property. If the spouse can prove an item is his separate property, the Court has no power to award it to the other party. Separate property consists of property owned prior to marriage, property obtained during marriage by gift, devise or descent, and property obtained by personal injury settlement. If an item cannot be proven by clear and convincing evidence to be separate property, it is community property subject to division between the spouses by the Court.
The Court has an obligation to divide the community property in a "just and right" manner. To make this determination, the Court typically looks at a variety of factors, such as fault in the breakup of the marriage, the health, earning capacity and education of the spouses, and time involved in taking care of the children of the marriage. Many divorce cases are hotly contested over the issue of property division, and the results can vary significantly. Creative arguments are often made as to why the division of community property should not be 50/50.
The attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm have significant experience handling divorce matters. The family law attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm can review the circumstances of your marriage, divorce and property, and will be able to properly advise you of your rights. Contact the offices of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio for more information or to schedule a free in-office appointment.