Everything acquired during the marriage will be divided using the state’s community property laws. Dividing community property is one of the most stressful aspects of divorce and should not be done without the help of an attorney.
Most people are unsure of what property is apart of the community estate and how it should be divided, adding more stress to an already stressful situation. It’s advised you contact a divorce attorney if you plan on filing for divorce. If you plan on filing for divorce in Harris County, you have come to the right place. Call (832) 530-4070 to schedule a confidential consultation with our family law department.
- Community Property vs. Separate Property
- How is Community Property Divided in Texas?
- Are Retirement Accounts Divided During a Divorce?
- What Happens if I Conceal Property?
Community Property vs. Separate Property
There are two types of property in a divorce: community and separate. Community property is all property either spouse collected during the marriage. Common examples of community property include:
- The family home
- The income of either spouse earned during the marriage
- Any purchased property
- Capital gains, interest, and dividends gained on community property
All community property is subject to division during a divorce, while the separate property is not. Separate property is property obtained before marriage. Separate property can also include inheritance, gifts and compensation from a personal injury claim, expect portions of the award used to make up for lost earnings during the marriage.
All property is considered community property unless the spouse claiming its separate can prove otherwise.
How is Community Property Divided in Texas?
Texas law requires all community property to be divided in a manner deemed “just and right.” This means the division must be equitable, not equal. When a judge is dividing property, they will take into account various factors when determining what’s just and right. Some of these factors include:
- Who has custody of the children
- Fault in the failure of the marriage
- Physical and mental health conditions of each spouse
- Age difference
- Disparity in earnings capacity
- Size of the community estate
- Spousal or child support obligations
Are Retirement Accounts Divided During a Divorce?
Many divorcing couples believe their retirement accounts are their own, but they are mistaken. The court will not care if the account is in your name, or that it was created through your employer. What will matter is when the retirement funds accrued.
Typically, any deposit into a retirement account during a marriage will be subject to division, while any deposits made before the marriage or during the divorce will not. It doesn’t matter who made more money; funds in a retirement plan belongs to both spouses.
The process is pretty straightforward when it comes to dividing 401(k) or Roth IRA accounts. Once it’s determined how much was accumulated during the marriage, the court will include the retirement amount in the community property they divide. Such accounts could be split between the spouses or by offsetting the value of the package with other property.
What Happens if I Conceal Property?
When a couple is going through a divorce, one spouse may feel they are getting an unfair share of the pie. When this happens, the dissatisfied spouse may not disclose all their assets or hide them altogether. Concealing assets during the divorce proceedings is immoral and illegal.
Texas classifies hiding assets during a divorce as a crime called fraud on the community. Concealing property may seem like a great way to ensure you get what you’re entitled to, but if a judge finds out, you will likely lose the undisclosed asset.
When a judge discovers property has been hidden for the divorce proceedings, they will calculate the value depleted from the community property. Then, they will calculate the value of the reconstituted estate, which is the total value of the community property that would have been if the fraud had not taken place.
After the reconstructed estate has been calculated, the judge will divide the property in a just and right manner. It’s likely the judge will award the wronged spouse a greater portion of the community estate.
Additional Resources for Community Property
Rules for Separate and Community Property | Texas Family Code – Visit the official website of the Texas Constitution and Statutes website to learn more about community property. You can also learn more about separate property, spousal liability, and claims for reimbursement.
Award of Marital Property | Texas Family Code – Follow the link to learn more about how property is divided in Texas. You can also learn more about dividing employee benefits and other plans. The code can be read on the Texas Constitution and Statutes website.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Houston, TX
The Gonzalez Law Group will help you decide what property should be divided and what property is rightfully yours. Schedule a time to speak with our family law department more about your situation. Call (832) 530-4070 today.
The Gonzalez Law Group has over 70 years of collective experience representing clients in divorce. Some of the areas we serve include Brookside Village, Almeda, Bellaire, and Piney Point Village.