What is Property Division?

Sometimes when things are falling apart
they may actually be falling into place.

When you divorce, you and your spouse will agree to divide your property. If there are disagreements, the court will decide how the property should be divided. In many states, all property that is acquired during the marriage in which your combined income was used for the purchase is usually considered marital property regardless of which spouse “owns” it or how it is titled. As part of a divorce, property division in Houston can include:

  • Brokerage accounts
  • Closely-held businesses
  • Deferred compensation
  • Houses/real estate
  • Professional practices and licenses
  • Rental properties
  • Retirement/pension plans
  • Stock options/restricted stock

Texas is a community property state, which means that most of the property acquired during your marriage belongs to both of you and must be divided at divorce. Separate property is yours to keep.

What is Separate Property Division in Houston?

“Separate property” is everything you and your spouse own separately and it doesn’t need to be divided. Separate property can include:

  • Anything inherited or received as a gift during the marriage
  • Anything owned prior to marriage
  • Anything that one spouse gives up to the other spouse in writing

If you feel that your separate property is just that – yours – but your spouse feels it is community property, you will need to be able to trace the payments and show where the separate and/or community money came from. Here’s an example:

  • Spouse 1 made the complete down payment for a home before the marriage.
  • During the marriage, the home was paid off.
  • Spouse 1 could be entitled to receive the entire down payment reimbursement as a separate property.

You can also have community debts – debts acquired during the marriage – and separate debts; your student loans, for example. Similar to separate property, separate debts belong to one spouse. All debts incurred before marriage are separate debts.

Putting the Pieces Together for Your Future

Try to prepare for your divorce as carefully as you prepared for your marriage. If you do, your property division in Houston should be fair and amicable. Divorce can be challenging, but you don’t have to face it alone. Diane Reul, Board Certified, Family Law – Texas Board of Legal Specialization, is a Houston attorney proficient in family law. Call (713) 622-3770 or send us a message to learn more.