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Who will keep the family house during my divorce?

For many divorcing spouses, the issue of who will keep what property is a matter of great importance.  You and your spouse may own property, retirement accounts, valuable furniture, and much more.  Understandably, you do not want to lose your valued property in a divorce.  In Texas, marital property will be divided equitably, which does not always mean equally.  Our West Texas divorce lawyers at Navarrete and Schwartz, P.C., discuss how Texas courts will divide property during a divorce below.

Marital vs. Separate Property

The Texas Family Code states that marital property must be divided in accordance with what is “just and right.”  It is first important to determine what property is “marital” and subject to division, and which is separate and thus will revert to the original owner.  Marital property includes any property, or debt, that is acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage.  This property is considered community property and is owned by both spouses.  It will be divided equitably in a divorce.

Separate property, on the other hand, involves property owned by either spouse before the marriage or property acquired separately by one spouse during the marriage, such as by gift or inheritance.  Separate property will not be divided by the court and remains in the ownership of the sole owning spouse.  

Factors Affecting the Division of Property in Texas

In determining what division of property will be just and right, a Texas court will look to several critical factors.  Factors that could result in a less than equal division of property include:

  1. Fault in the marriage:  In Texas, divorce can be based on fault grounds, including cruelty or adultery.  When an innocent spouse can prove fault in a divorce, he or she may receive a greater proportion of marital property.
  2. Gaps in earning capacities:  Where a significant gap exists between the ability of the parties to earn a living, this could affect the division of property.
  3. Health of the parties:  If one spouse has a serious health issue that will affect their ability to work, or is the primary caregiver of a child from the marriage with a major health issue, he or she may be awarded a greater share of the marital property.

Contact your Texas divorce attorney for an evaluation of your potential rights to the property acquired during your divorce.