When a married couple is happy, they often do not contemplate which spouse owns certain assets. When a couple decides to divorce, however, one of the primary issues of contention is who owns specific property and how the property should be divided. Developing a fair property settlement agreement is a critical task in dissolving a marriage, and it is important for anyone considering a divorce to take appropriate measures to protect their interests. If you intend to seek a divorce or were recently served with divorce papers, it is important to understand your options for safeguarding your rights. The skilled Dallas divorce lawyers of the McClure Law Group have the knowledge and experience to assist you in seeking your desired outcome in your divorce case, and we will work diligently on your behalf.Classifying Property in a Texas Divorce
Under Texas law, property in divorce cases is either considered separate or community property. Any property obtained by either spouse during the course of the marriage is presumed to be community property, which means that it is owned equally by both spouses. There are exceptions to this rule, however, for property that either spouse obtained via a gift or inheritance, and for property deemed separate via a pre-marital or post-marital contractual agreement. Additionally, gifts from one spouse to another, and compensation awarded in a lawsuit arising out of bodily injury that was not meant to compensate for a loss of income are separate property. Any property that either spouse owned individually prior to the marriage is also considered separate property.Developing a Property Settlement Agreement
In many instances, divorcing spouses have an amicable relationship and are able to come to an agreement amongst themselves regarding how any community property or liabilities should be divided. This typically involves negotiations with the assistance of attorneys and potentially a neutral evaluator. Even if the parties are on good terms and do not believe they need the help of a lawyer, it is prudent for both spouses to be represented by counsel when developing a property settlement agreement to avoid the unintended waiver of any rights. Once an agreement is finalized, it will be reduced to writing and submitted to the court. If the court approves the agreement it will become part of the final divorce decree, which means that it will be binding on both parties. If the court does not believe the agreement is fair, it may ask the parties to revise and resubmit the agreement or may order a hearing.
If the parties are unable to develop a mutually acceptable property settlement agreement, the matter will proceed to court. Texas law dictates that all community property is subject to division and that the court must divide community property in a way that is right and just. While in some cases the court may choose to divide property equally between spouses, the court is not required to do so. Rather, the court will assess all the assets and liabilities the parties have accrued and determine how to divide them fairly. The court will also specifically divide the rights to any retirement or pension plans and the rights to insurance. The court will consider the tax implications of any division, whether either party has fraudulently depleted the community assets, and other factors such as each party’s health, individual assets, earning potential, and income in determining an appropriate division.Speak with a Dedicated Divorce Attorney in Dallas
Developing a property settlement agreement can be complicated, and the terms of any agreement will be binding and permanent. If you are in the process of ending your marriage, it is prudent to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer regarding your case. At McClure Law Group, we are proficient in aiding parties in the pursuit of an efficient and equitable division of assets, and we will zealously advocate on your behalf. We have an office in Dallas, and we can also meet by appointment at our Collin County office in Plano. We routinely represent people in divorce lawsuits in Dallas, Richardson, Garland, Irving, Fort Worth, Rockwall, McKinney, and Frisco. Additionally, we represent people in family law cases throughout Dallas, Denton, Grayson, Rockwall, Collin, and Tarrant Counties. We can be reached through our form online or by calling 214.692.8200 to schedule a conference.