Real estate divorce laws in texas


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Property is either marital or separate, and it includes assets and liabilities. The most common types of property divided at divorce are real property, such as the marital home, personal property, such as jewelry and clothing, and intangible property, such as income, dividends, and benefits.

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All the community assets and community liabilities must be divided between the spouses when the marriage ends. Once a spouse proves that an asset is separate property, it remains his or hers, and the court cannot award it to the other spouse. First, the court classifies assets and liabilities, property and debt, as marital or separate. Then it assigns a monetary value to the marital property and debt.


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Finally, it distributes the marital assets between the two parties. There are no special rules for the division of the marital hone, but courts usually leave the children in their home. The Texas homestead laws are very strong, but creditors, rather than the property allocation in a divorce case, relate issues related to protection of the marital home to claims. In Texas, as in many jurisdictions, the equity in the marital home is often one of the biggest assets the spouses divide.

The equity is the market value of the house, less any debts or liens against it. Equity is established by determining what the current market value of the home is at the time of separation. Once the spouses agree to a current market value, any debts associated with the property mortgage, taxes, home equity loans, etc.

Normally, making this calculation requires a paid real estate appraisal or a real estate agent can prepare a market analysis for free. A number of factors can affect the value of a retirement plan income taxes, penalties for withdrawal, etc. On the other hand, the judge always approves an agreement of the parties whether it involves an equal division of the plans or not.

A pension vests when all the requirements to receive the pension have been met. Unvested pensions are also marital property. Until the pension has vested, the person under whom the pension is maintained has only an expectancy of interest in the pension. Several different methods of valuation are used in determining how much a marital asset is worth, depending upon the asset to be valued and the level of agreement between the parties.

Dividing Separate Property in a Texas Divorce

Courts generally accept the value when the spouses mutually agree on a value of a particular asset. Experts may be retained by the parties or by the courts to determine the value of marital assets if the parties cannot agree. Such experts may include accountants, real estate or business appraisers, or pension valuators.

The use of experts adds to the cost of the divorce.

Dividing Property In A Texas Divorce Fairly

In Texas the court may include the retirement benefits and plans earned by both spouses as marital assets available for division. Retirement benefits vary greatly but can generally be divided into two groups:. In Texas if spouses share in each others retirement or pension plan, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order must be completed. A QDRO is a written set of instructions that explains to a plan administrator that two parties are dividing pension benefits.

What will happen to your business in your Texas divorce?

The instructions set forth the terms and conditions of the distribution - how much of the benefits are to be paid to each party, when such benefits can be paid, how such benefits should be paid, etc. Enter Your Zip Code:. Military Divorce What you need to know. X Close Texas Info. Encyclopedia Checklists Tools Downloads Bookstore. Start Your Divorce. Texas Info. The spouses sell the home and divide the proceeds.

One of the parties may refinance the home and buy out the other party.

One spouse usually the custodial parent remains in the home with the exclusive use and possession for a certain period of time for example, until the youngest child graduates from high school , then either buys out the other spouse or sells the home and divides the proceeds. Defined Contribution Plans : A defined amount of money belonging to the employee. The balance of the plan is constantly changing, but its value is definable at any given point. Defined Benefit Plans : A retirement benefit where an employer promises to pay a benefit to an employee sometime in the future, based upon some type of formula.

Normally, this formula is based on the employees salary near the end of his or her career and the number of years he or she worked for the employer before retirement. Defined benefit plans are much more complicated to value and often require the professional evaluation of an actuary to determine exact values.

Find Professionals Choose a County! Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator. Realtors will provide free market assessments, which will give the couple an idea of the range of market values, but an appraisal will be much more detailed and more accurate. Various options exist for apportioning equity. If neither spouse wants to keep the home, dividing the equity proportionately following a sale might be appropriate.

However, it is important to address who will pay the mortgage, tax bills, insurance and upkeep while a sale is pending, and to decide who will remain in the home if anyone , and how price reductions will be addressed pending sale. All of this could also affect equity division.


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What happens when one spouse wants to keep the home? An appraisal will determine the market value, and then the spouse who will keep the home will essentially "buy-out" the other spouse by giving up other assets. Thus, the spouse who does not stay in the home may receive a larger portion of the retirement accounts or another asset, or may pay less of the couples' outstanding debt.

Texas courts divide property into two categories - community and separate. Division of community property requires a review of what is "just and right. Separate property, on the other hand, is not divided and includes the following:. If one of the spouses owned a home before the marriage, then the equity at the time of the marriage is separate.

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As the couple uses community funds to pay the mortgage and remodel the home, increases in value are likely considered community. The increase in value due solely to a general increase in real estate prices would be separate. This example illustrates the complexities of Texas property division.

Obtaining a correct valuation of a home and tracing any separate funds are important to receiving a fair and equitable property settlement.

In a Texas Divorce, Who Gets the House?

An experienced family law attorney can provide more information based on your individual circumstances. Please enter a valid email address. Please enter a valid phone number. Please describe your legal issue.

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