San Antonio Property Division Lawyers
Smart legal help with dividing assets and debts in South Texas divorce
One of the most important aspects of divorce is property division. During this process, all marital property is divided between you and your spouse. Texas is a community property state, which means all assets acquired during marriage belong to both spouses and must be divided equitably, which may not always mean fifty-fifty.
At Grable Grimshaw PLLC, our San Antonio divorce attorneys help classify your assets and debts as separate or marital property, and we fight for a fair division. We understand that the outcome of your settlement is essential to help you establish a strong financial future. Put our experienced legal team on your side and we’ll work hard to protect your best interests.
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What is community property?
Community property is assets that a couple acquired during the course of their marriage. These assets belong to both parties. Exceptions, however, may include inheritances and property specified as separate in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Much of what you earn and acquire while married is community property. Everything you own, from your credit card debt to your house, falls into one of the two legal categories in the eyes of the Texas family courts. Your assets and debts are all either community property shared between spouses or separate property owned by you as an individual.
Understanding what constitutes separate property can make it easier to determine what is community property. Separate property includes items owned outright before marriage (provided that the spouses did not engage in sharing or commingling), gifts and inheritances. Almost everything else that you get during your marriage will be community property, potentially subject to division.
Purchases, debts, accounts and assets in one person’s name can theoretically be the shared property of both spouses. In other words, it doesn’t really matter whose name is on the retirement account. What the courts will care about is when you and your spouse made deposits into that account. The courts will also look at other factors, such as your current earning potential, as well as the length of your marriage. Once you know what is subject to division, it will be easier to plan for your future.
What is separate property?
In Texas, state law tries to look carefully at what is and is not considered community property. Your separate property may include things like:
- Inheritances and family heirlooms.
- Gifts that were just to you (not jointly to you and your spouse).
- Real estate owned prior to the marriage.
- Businesses owned prior to the marriage.
- Anything carved out according to a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Even some of the things listed above, however, can be transformed from separate property to community property through commingling with your spouse’s assets.
What factors do Texas courts consider during property division?
The first step in equitable property division is assigning separate and community property. Once community property is established, the court takes a number of variables into consideration when determining how to divide property fairly. These factors can include:
- Length of the marriage
- Income disparity between spouses
- Extent of each spouse’s separate assets
- Health and age of each spouse
- Whether the marriage involves minor children
- Contributions of one spouse to the home and raising children
- Educational background and employment potential of each spouse
- Whether one spouse was at-fault for the divorce
Remember, if you and your spouse are able to come to agreement through mediation, you will not need the court to decide for you. However, a judge will not approve any divorce agreement that is overtly unfair, one-sided, or completed under duress. Talk to the attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC today for knowledgeable legal advice.
What happens to our business during divorce?
If you and your spouse own a business, the business (or its comparable value) will need to be divided during divorce. We can help you divide the business or identify creative options that will keep the business intact.
Am I responsible for my spouse’s debt in our divorce?
Just like assets, in Texas debt is also equitably divided, unless one spouse can show they shouldn’t be held liable for the other’s debt. Typically, however, both spouses are liable for any debt accrued during the marriage. This is especially true for any joint accounts, like a mortgage or other lines of credit. You and your spouse can sell joint assets to pay off debt, divide assets and debt equally, or otherwise negotiate with the help of your divorce attorney to ensure you come out as financially secure as possible.
How do we divide retirement accounts in a San Antonio divorce?
Retirement accounts may be divided through a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). Your spouse is eligible to receive a portion of your retirement account earned during all the years you were married. If one spouse is (or was) a member of the armed forces, the other spouse may also be eligible for a portion of their military pension.
How will asset division affect my taxes?
The way you divide your assets can have significant tax consequences. Our divorce attorneys will explain the tax repercussions of different distribution plans to prevent unnecessarily high tax burdens. All of the following can impact your taxes:
- Division of real estate, including the marital home and other properties like a vacation home or an investment property.
- Division of valuables such as collectibles, jewelry, art, guns, tools or recreational vehicles, or other high-value assets.
- Alimony to be paid or received temporarily or long term.
- Division of stocks and bonds and other investments.
How can your San Antonio property division attorneys help?
There are several pathways to property division that will become part of your divorce decree, including:
- Settlement conferences with your spouse and their lawyer.
- Mediation, as an alternative to litigation.
- Litigation, when the two sides cannot agree.
Depending on your circumstances, we can steer you toward the resolution method that will offer you the greatest benefit at the lowest cost.
Schedule a consultation with a San Antonio property division attorney
If you’re in the divorce planning stage, or even considering a marital split, talk to an experienced lawyer at Grable Grimshaw PLLC. We provide experienced guidance throughout the divorce process, working to ensure you feel financially and emotionally confident. Contact us today to set up a consultation by calling 210-963-5297 or filling out our contact form. We also serve clients throughout South Texas.