Texas is one of just nine community property states in the union. This means that when dividing property in a divorce, the court begins by assuming that both spouses have equal ownership in the marital assets and debts. It does not matter whether the asset is a couch, a home or a retirement account. Likewise, a mortgage loan receives the same treatment as a store credit card.
Even so, Texas takes a more equitable approach to the division of assets and debts in a divorce. The court will consider several factors when determining how to divide the marital estate. Some of those factors include child custody, the earning capacity of each person and each party’s health. Other factors are also considered depending on a couple’s circumstances and the size of the marital estate.
The first hurdle is determining exactly what makes up the marital estate. Each party could have separate property, and that needs to be identified before moving forward. Of course, couples are not required to let the court divide their property. They are entitled to negotiate their own settlements, so long as neither party ends up with a significant financial advantage over the other. In that regard, a settlement must comply with public policy and current law.
In many cases, couples who negotiate their own divorce settlements end up more satisfied with the results. With the assistance of their attorneys, a couple could design a settlement that allows each of them to walk away with some financial security, along with a fair settlement. Couples are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to think outside the box in order to tailor their agreement to meet their specific needs.
Source: FindLaw, “Community Property Overview“, Accessed on April 23, 2017