Assets/Property Division

Couples can save a lot of money if they settle their divorce case without it having to go to court.  A lot of individuals go through the court process because they cannot come to an agreement to settle their case.  Individuals who are short sighted by the division of assets and property may end up not receiving what they expected.  It’s always best to consult with an attorney who can advise you of your rights.

Assets/Property Division Attorney in Brownsville, Texas

During a divorce proceeding everything may seem to run smooth, until the topic of asset and property division comes up.  You and your spouse may have different thoughts when it comes to a just and right division of the assets.  Consulting with an attorney is highly recommended so that they can advise you of your rights as it pertains to the division of the property and assets.

Texas law provides for a just and right division of assets and property.  However, only the parties know how and when the property was acquired.  The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. can advise you of how the division of assets and property applies to your specific case.  Call our office at 956-504-2211 for a free, confidential consultation or fill out one of our blank case review forms at the bottom of the page.

The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. works with clients in the counties of Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy.

Overview of Assets/Property Division in Brownsville, Texas  

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Control of Separate and Communal Property

Tex. Fam. Code § 3.001 defines separate property as the following:

(1) the property owned or claimed by the spouse before marriage;

(2) the property acquired by the spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent; and

(3) the recovery for personal injuries sustained by the spouse during the marriage, except any recovery for loss of earning capacity during marriage.

When it comes to separate property, the owner of that separate property is the one that is in charge of maintaining and managing that separate property.

Tex. Fam. Code § 3.002 defines community property as the following: “Community property consists of the property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during marriage.”  When it comes to the control of specific communal property such as personal earnings, separate property revenue, personal injury settlements, and all other property under that spouse’s management and control, that spouse is in charge of maintaining and managing that specific communal property, unless stated in a contract or pre-marital agreement. If the couple shares community property, they must also share the control and management of that property, unless otherwise indicated inside a pre-marital agreement — however, an exception as stated by Tex. Fam. Code § 3.301 establishes that a spouse may file a petition for taking control and management of community property in the event of missing, abandoned, or separated spouse. The process is subject to a time limit on filing and court procedures.

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Division of Property Upon Separation or Divorce

Upon divorce, separate property that stayed as separate property throughout the marriage belongs to the owner of that separate property.  In case that there is some question of what constitutes as separate property and what does not, Tex. Fam. Code § 3.003(b) states, “The degree of proof necessary to establish that property is separate property is clear and convincing evidence.”  Texas does not recognize legal separation, so every property attained during what you consider is separation that is not separate property is considered communal property. The court can be the one to ultimately decide on the following if the decree leads to contesting in court:

· Retirement and other employment benefits

· Life insurance

· Military benefits

· Spousal maintenance

Texas courts promote amicable agreements concerning division of property between spouses, so the division of property upon separation or divorce is subject to following what was accorded inside a marital or pre-marital agreement if the terms of the agreement are ‘just and right.’  Otherwise, the court can order the parties to submit a revised copy of the contract or draw the case out to be contested in court.

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Spousal Liability

A spouse is only liable for the other spouse’s liabilities if they were legally involved in the liability action in conjunction with the other spouse.  Texas law states that a spouse’s separate or community property legally managed under the spouse’s name is not liable for the other’s spouse’s debt or liabilities.  However, community property that is managed between both spouses is liable to either spouse’s debt or liability.

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Assets/Property Division with Unmarried Couples

Cohabitating Couples 

There are no laws explicitly written for unmarried couples.  Instead, property division laws for unmarried couples work the same for any other pair of individuals, not in a relationship.  If the pair of individuals do not have a previous contract in place, like a cohabitation agreement, then property division procedures can lead to contesting the division of property in court.

Common-Law Marriage  

Common-Law marriages can be challenging to prove since they require specific guidelines.  Texas law does apply marriage division of property laws to common law marriage couples; however, they must legally establish their marriage first; otherwise, the relationship of marriage is harder to prove.  

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Additional Resources

More About Separate and Property Law | Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) – The Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) is a nonprofit encyclopedia resource for Texas history and laws.  If you have more questions about the understanding of separation of property law inside the state of Texas, then click on the link.

IRS | Divorce or Separation – The U.S. Internal Revenue Services (IRS) has specific regulations for recently divorced or separated individuals.  If you are recently divorced or separated, then know you might have to be filing your taxes differently this next tax season, which is all dependent on the division of property between you and your spouse.

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Assets/Property Division Attorney in Cameron County, Texas

It is essential to understand the laws of assets/property division in case of a dissolution of marriage.  The last thing you want is to be blind-sided by the other party because you do not understand how the assets/property division laws work in Texas.  You may end up agreeing to something you do not understand, for this reason it is crucial to obtain legal advice from an attorney.

The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. wants to make sure you are knowledgeable when deciding on property division in and out of marriage.  If you’re involved in a divorce proceeding, you may want to consult with an attorney to advise you regarding property division.  If you filed for divorce on your own (ProSe) but now have questions regarding property division, you can call to make an appointment with one of our attorneys at 956-504-2211.

The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. works with clients from all over Brownsville, and the counties of Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy.