When a couple decides to marry, it not only changes the status of their relationship, but also alters the status of their property. In other words, any property they acquire after the marriage is generally considered community property, not the property of either individual spouse. Thus, when a couple decides to divorce, one of the most arduous tasks for the couple or the court is determining how any community property should be divided. If you or your spouse wish to end your marriage, it is important to be aware of the potential financial consequences of a divorce. The skilled Dallas divorce lawyers of McClure Law Group can develop your case and help you assert your legal rights.Community Property Defined
In Texas, the law defines property owned by a married couple as either community property or separate property. Separate property encompasses any property owned by either spouse prior to the marriage and property explicitly defined as separate property in a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial contract. Additionally, gifts from third parties, inheritances, and damages recovered in personal injury cases are considered separate property, unless the damages are meant to compensate for the loss of earning capacity. Gifts between spouses and any income generated from the gifts are deemed separate property as well. Community property broadly refers to any property, including income, interest, and real estate, that is acquired by either spouse after the marriage commences and is not delineated as separate property. Any property defined as community property is equally owned by each spouse and is subject to division during a divorce.
The law presumes that any property obtained during a marriage is community property. Thus, if either party disputes the nature of an asset, he or she must establish that it is separate property via evidence that is convincing and clear. This is a higher burden of proof than preponderance of the evidence, but a lesser burden than beyond a reasonable doubt. Essentially, it means that the evidence must be sufficient to allow the fact-finder to form a firm belief as to the truth of the allegation. In cases in which the spouses disagree regarding the nature of an asset, or when an asset involves an intermingling of both separate and community property, it may be necessary to retain a forensic accountant to trace the origins of the asset. A seasoned divorce attorney can help you engage the appropriate professionals to assist with your case.Texas Laws Regarding Community Property
Although Texas is a community property state, that does not mean that a court will necessarily divide community property equally in a divorce. Rather, the law requires the courts to divide community property in a manner it deems right and just. In other words, the division of property must be equitable. The court will typically assess numerous factors in determining what is fair, including the fault attributable to either party in the demise of the marriage, each spouse’s earning capacity and income, and each spouse’s education and future employment prospects. If the couple has children together, the court will also consider which parent is the primary caretaker of the children, the division of custody, and the health of both spouses and the children. If one party is obligated to pay alimony to the other, the court may consider that as well in determining what constitutes an equitable division of assets.Meet with an Assertive Divorce Lawyer in Dallas
Dividing community property in a divorce can be a contentious and drawn-out process. If you or your spouse intend to end your marriage, it is advisable to retain an attorney who will fight to protect your interests and your assets. At the McClure Law Group, we can aggressively advocate in your favor to assist you in pursuing a just outcome. We regularly represent people in divorce cases in Dallas, Richardson, Garland, Irving, Fort Worth, Rockwall, McKinney, and Frisco. Additionally, we assist parties in family law matters throughout Dallas, Denton, Grayson, Rockwall, Collin, and Tarrant Counties. You can contact us through our form online or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a meeting.