Basic Property Issues

This is the second “script” I’m posting to support my new series of under-3-minute videos on the basics of a Texas divorce. The videos are available on my YouTube channel.

After kids, the second most important issue in a divorce is money. Texas is a community property state. That means that no matter whose name is on property or debts, courts presume it to be shared by the husband and wife. People are often surprised that if one spouse has racked up credit card debt completely in their own name, the other spouse can still be responsible for it.

That said, courts do not necessarily divide property 50/50. Courts try to make a “just and right” division. Courts can potentially give a spouse more or less than half due to factors including earning capacity, health, adultery, fraudulent behavior, and others. When a couple doesn’t own much, it’s harder to split things exactly 50/50, while with a larger estate, it’s more likely to be closer to 50/50

Courts can only divide community property, not separate property. Your separate property is anything you owned before the marriage, or anything you got during the marriage by gift, inheritance, or personal injury settlement. However, since all property is presumed to be community property, it will be your job to prove by evidence that you have separate property.

Lastly, there is no alimony in Texas. If a spouse or child is disabled, the court can award monthly maintenance payments for their care. If a spouse is totally unable to earn enough to support their basic needs (basically if they’ll be on public benefits) the court can award payments of a maximum of $1,500 per month for 3 years. Even though courts cannot award alimony, sometimes couples will agree to make a contract for alimony as a way of paying out the property division over time.

The property issues can be quite complex, especially if there is a family business involved. This video was intended as a simple overview of the property issues in a Texas divorce. It is not intended as legal advice. If you have specific questions, please contact me at 972-769-2727 to set up a consultation.