marital property or community property division during divorce symbolized by two house keys and a broken home

What is Considered Community Property During a Divorce?

When a married couple gets divorced, one of the most complicated parts of the process is dividing up the marital assets and debts. In Texas, the law assumes that most property acquired during the marriage is “community property.” Community property is property owned jointly by both spouses. Understanding what constitutes community property and how it gets divided in a divorce is crucial to keeping the peace during any divorce.

As Fort Worth divorce lawyers, we’ve seen it all and are here to tell you what actually constitutes community property during a divorce.

 

What Is Community Property?


Community property refers to assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage.

Community property is an umbrella term for a wide range of assets. Let’s get into some of the most common items considered “community.”

 

Income from Jobs and Money in the Bank


Even though you work hard for your money, anything you earn during your marriage or put in a shared bank account during a marriage is community property.

If you have a prenuptial agreement in place, however, this is a smart way around having to divide income in a way that could be deemed unfair for one spouse in the divorce.

 

Retirement Accounts and Pensions


Retirement accounts, 401Ks, and pensions racked up during the marriage are all considered community property.

Real Estate


Houses and business property you and your spouse purchased together must be divided as equally as possible.
This level of community property also applies to any business you and your spouse started at any point in your marriage.

 

Items Purchased with Shared Money


This is mostly anything material you and your spouse bought during your marriage. It can include cars, jewelry, furniture, tools, and even clothing.

The key defining factor is that community property is obtained after the couple wed. Anything owned by one spouse prior to the marriage is considered separate property and is not divided in a divorce.

 

What is Separate Property?


 

When marital property division is involved in a divorce, separate property owned by one spouse prior to marriage is not considered communal.

Separate property is owned by the spouse and is not party to fair and just division.

If one spouse owned a home before the wedding, it stays their separate property in a divorce.

An inheritance acquired by one partner is separate property.

Businesses started, and assets acquired before the marriage are also separate property.

Co-mingling separate property can make it marital property, however. If separate funds are mixed into joint accounts, used to improve community assets, or given as a gift to the other spouse, separate property can become communal.

What About Debt?

While most people would love to hand off their debt to a spouse that wronged them, the truth is that debts also get classified as individual or communal.
Typically, joint debts acquired during the marriage are shared, while those brought into the marriage stay separate.


Dividing Your Community Property


The division of property is not always right down the middle. In some cases, a judge may divide assets equitably but not exactly equally.

Factors like length of marriage, income, age, and health issues can lead to a different distribution in the interest of fairness.

 

Fort Worth Lawyer for Community Property Division


Dividing community property during a divorce can be complex, especially when a couple has built up substantial assets over the years.

It’s important to understand what constitutes community property and how it will get divided from your Fort Worth divorce lawyer.

Before you even consider what counts as communal assets in your marriage, seek guidance from an experienced divorce attorney in Tarrant County like Nilsson Legal Group.

Our divorce lawyers can help ensure property is classified correctly and divided in a fair manner in accordance with state laws.

With our help, you can ensure fair and just division of your community property while minimizing conflicts. Schedule your free consultation today.
Mother holds son near during divorce argument

Are You Eligible for Spousal Support in Texas?

Divorce can be a challenging and emotional process, and one of the most critical aspects to address is spousal support, also known as alimony.

 
Spousal support is designed to provide financial assistance to a lower-earning spouse after the dissolution of a marriage.

 

However, obtaining spousal support in Texas is not automatic and requires meeting specific qualifications and demonstrating financial need. At Nilsson Legal Group, we aim to help all of our clients receive the most financial support possible from their divorce. Let’s examine the factors and considerations behind spousal support qualification in the Lone Star State.

Determine the Length of the Marriage


One of the primary considerations for spousal support eligibility in Texas is the duration of the marriage. Generally, a marriage must have lasted for a minimum of ten years to be eligible for spousal support.

 

In cases where the marriage lasted less than ten years, spousal support is less likely, but not impossible to obtain with the help of an experienced Fort Worth divorce lawyer.

 

Why does the length of marriage matter when determining spousal support? The length of the marriage is a crucial factor as it demonstrates the level of financial interdependence between the spouses during their time together.

Disparity in Income


The court will carefully assess the income and earning potential of both spouses when determining spousal support eligibility. The key objective is to identify a significant disparity in income between the two parties.

 

If you are a spouse that wants support, you and your legal team must demonstrate a genuine financial need, proving a lack of sufficient resources to maintain a standard of living comparable to that experienced during marriage.

 

Additionally, the court will evaluate the supporting spouse's ability to pay spousal support without experiencing undue financial hardship.

 
When determining spousal support, payments will either be 20 percent of the payor’s income or $5,000 a month; whichever is the lesser number is the amount paid.


Contribution to the Marriage


The contributions made by both spouses during the marriage will also be considered. These contributions extend beyond financial contributions and may include homemaking, child-rearing, and supporting the other spouse's education or career development.

 

The court will recognize and value these non-financial contributions when assessing spousal support eligibility. Therefore, if you already have child custody on the negotiation table, it’s likely that you can find an argument that makes spousal support a possibility.

Physical and Mental Health


The health and well-being of both spouses are important factors in determining spousal support. A spouse with a physical or mental health condition that limits their ability to work or secure adequate employment may have a stronger case for receiving spousal support.

 

Medical records and expert opinions may be used to substantiate claims regarding health-related limitations.

Property Division


Texas is a community property state, meaning that property acquired during the marriage is typically divided equally between the spouses during divorce proceedings. However, if a significant portion of the marital estate goes to one spouse due to factors like earning capacity or inheritances, the court may consider this when awarding spousal support.

 

Unequal property division can create a financial need for the lower-earning spouse, increasing the likelihood of spousal support being granted.

Job Training and Education


The court may also consider the requesting spouse's ability to become self-supporting in the future. If a spouse needs additional education or job training to secure gainful employment, the court may award temporary spousal support to facilitate this transition.

 

The objective is to help the recipient spouse become financially independent over time.


Best Move Toward Spousal Support Today


Qualifying for spousal support in Texas requires a careful examination of various factors and considerations.

 

Remember, every divorce case is unique, and the court's decisions will be based on the specific circumstances presented. By working with an experienced lawyer from Nilsson Legal Group and presenting a strong case, you can better position yourself for a favorable outcome in the aftermath of your divorce.

 

Don’t hope the courts fall in your favor, make it happen with Nilsson Legal Group. Schedule your free consultation today.