Everything will be divided 50/50, right?
One of the questions that I hear a lot, both in the office and in casual conversations is about dividing property in a divorce. When people are talking about divorce the question ‘how is everything going to be divided 50/50?’ always seems to get asked. The answer to that is short and long. The short answer is that it won’t be. The long answer is that it isn’t always divided 50/50 because there are many of other issues and details about the dividing property to think about.
The marital estate is the community property that the couple has at the time of the divorce. Each person has an undivided one-half interest in all of it. But, not everything that the couple has at the time of divorce is necessarily community property. Separate property must be considered separately. However, all of the property on hand at the time of divorce will be presumed community unless it can be shown to be separate property.
Separate property is everything that was owned before the marriage (for example, furniture, dishes, retirement accounts), was inherited during the marriage by a will or otherwise (for example, Aunt Marge’s rings and sterling silver), was a gift during the marriage to that person, as well as other special considerations like personal injury settlements.
Other considerations with dividing property
There are also many other things to consider. The Texas Family Code requires that the property division be ‘just and right’ considering the rights of each of the divorcing couple as well as any children that they have. The couple may also have an agreement about their property that they made either before the marriage (prenuptial) or after they got married. Also, when considering bank accounts, stock, retirement accounts and investments accounts people can agree to keep certain accounts and divide other accounts if they want to, based on looking at their estate and all of the values together and any possible costs and fees.
Property division in divorce is complex. Find a good family law attorney to get advice regarding dividing property in your divorce.
Jill O’Connell, 940-497-5454