Navigating Property Division After a Divorce in Houston, TX
Many couples don’t take time to consider how their property will be divided in the event of a divorce when they get married. Those who don’t invest in a prenuptial agreement and seek a divorce later on must make some challenging decisions about the distribution of assets accumulated during the marriage. Marital property in Texas consists of all property acquired by the couple throughout the length of their marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title or who paid for the item.
Deciding how to divide your assets and possessions is one of the most involved aspects of divorce and can quickly become one of the most time-consuming. While it may seem simple for spouses to decide amongst themselves what they wish to keep or how to split up their finances, it may not be immediately clear how the property should be divided according to the law.
The experienced asset division lawyers with Stepp & Sullivan PC can guide you and your spouse through the complex process of property division in Houston. Having helped many couples reach amicable divorce agreements over 70 years of practice, they can protect your interests while making sure your divorce wraps up in a timely manner.
What is Considered Marital Property in Houston, Texas?
Marital property consists of all property acquired during the marriage, including all assets and income gained by either spouse. Marital property also includes debt.
Examples of marital property include, but are not limited to:
- Pension plans
- Retirement plans (401ks, IRAs)
- Deferred compensation
- Stock options
- Life insurance
- Brokerage accounts (stocks, bonds, mutual funds)
- Closely-held businesses
- Professional practices and licenses
- Real estate
- Art & antiques
- Tax refunds
- Limited partnerships
- Restricted stock and other equity
Additionally, separate property is the property that belongs to each spouse individually that they acquired before the marriage. It’s possible that if the value of separate property grows while the couple is married, the increase in growth might also be considered marital property.
What is a Community Property State in Houston, TX?
The majority of the United States is made up of equitable distribution states, in which property division does not need to be equal so long as it is “fair and equitable.” Texas, on the other hand, is one of nine community property states. In a community property state, the state considers both spouses to be equal owners of all marital property.
Spouses seeking a divorce may decide how to split assets through mediation. Mediation is a viable option for couples who can cooperate on the terms they wish to set. Through mediation, you can keep important decisions out of the hands of the court. Each spouse and their lawyers will work on a property division agreement that protects their interests by meeting with a neutral third-party to settle their divorce.
What Factors Do the Courts Consider When Dividing Assets in Houston, TX?
Texas is a community property state, but that doesn’t mean that property will automatically be divided 50/50. Texas law requires that the judge divide marital property in a manner that is considered “just and right.” If you allow the court to dictate property division in your divorce, they will consider many factors, such as:
- The reason for divorce
- Each spouse’s state of health
- The differences in earnings
- Child custody
- Each spouse’s education
- The size of the estate
- Anything that may affect a spouse’s ability to make a living
The judge in your divorce case will weigh and compare these factors to determine a fair method of distributing your possessions, property, and debt. Usually, the spouse with primary child custody keeps the residential home.
Why Work with a Property Division Lawyer in Houston, TX?
An attorney can provide considerable value when determining how to divide assets between you and your spouse. Divorce is often a tumultuous time that can affect your ability to make logical decisions. When making decisions in divorce, you need to realize that these contracts will affect your life for many years to come, which is why it helps to have an experienced attorney on your side.
A lawyer can help uncover hidden assets that can skew the value of your estate. It’s not uncommon for spouses to hide assets, especially if they foresee a divorce. If assets are hidden or destroyed it’s usually with the intent of keeping them from being divided. By uncovering these assets, you can ensure they’re fairly and equally divided. An attorney can provide resources to help you calculate the true value of your estate so you get what you deserve.
The division of property can be a daunting task, especially while going through the emotional aspects of leaving your spouse. Attorneys with Stepp & Sullivan can take on the tedious tasks and save you from mental exhaustion so you can focus on adjusting to a new life.
Trust Houston’s Property Division Lawyers
At Stepp & Sullivan, PC, we have more than 70 years of combined legal experience helping spouses navigate divorce in Texas. Our team is composed of seasoned litigators and problem solvers who know how to get the best results for each client. We provide legal representation for a diverse range of clients, and we aim to be your problem solver, personal advocate, and fighter during this time. Call (713) 336-7200 or complete our contact form for your consultation.