Property Division And Gray Divorce
Divorce brings on questions like who gets the house, the car or the furniture? Usually, the longer the marriage lasted, the more property you have to divide during divorce. And, your common debts are also part of property division. Texas laws and courts determine how to divide your property and it’s smart to have a competent, tough and experienced lawyer at your side.
At C.E. Borman & Associates, our lawyers have years of experience handling divorce and can explain what to expect in terms of division of property and assets. First, let’s take a look at some basics.
Texas Is A Community Property State
Some people think that because Texas is a community property state, the judge automatically divides all property 50/50. This is not the case. In a divorce, courts can only divide community property and must divide the property in a manner that is “fair and equitable.” Texas law describes community property as any property that is not separate property. Community property is property you or your spouse acquired or earned during marriage, such as your house, your bank accounts, your income from working, investments, cars, retirement accounts ─ it can be most anything.
Separate property is property that you or your spouse:
- Acquired prior to marriage
- Received from an inheritance or as a gift
- Were awarded through the court, such as a personal injury award (but not damages for lost income because income is community property)
- You and your spouse can reach an agreement on who gets what and as your attorney, we can draft your agreement into a document that we submit to the court for approval. You can also arrive at an agreement through a negotiated settlement or through mediation. Or, when you simply can’t resolve your differences on how to divide your property, we can go to trial and let the court decide for you.
- Step-parent adoptions where biological parents don’t want to give up their rights
- Child abuse or neglect cases where Child Protective Services (CPS) seek to terminate the parents’ rights.
Such situations are referred to as “involuntary termination” cases. When an adoption involves involuntary termination, our attorneys can help you determine whether legal grounds for termination of parental rights exist.
Factors The Court Considers When Determining Property Division
Courts divide property based on what the judge decides is fair. Factors judges weigh when deciding are:
- Both spouses’ age and health
- Earning capacity
- Education levels
- Business opportunities
- Primary caregiver for children
- Amount of separate property each spouse owns
- Fault grounds for divorce
Gray divorce is a term for divorcing couples who are 50 and older. Incidentally, the gray divorce rate has been rising over the past few decades. Because children are usually grown and living on their own, the issues you face in a gray divorce deal mostly with property division. However, dividing assets after a long term marriage can be complicated, particularly with retirement accounts, pensions, Social Security, insurance and long term care coverage as part of the picture.
If you are contemplating divorce later in life, seeking legal advice and guidance from a qualified attorney is an important step. At C.E. Borman & Associates, our divorce attorneys bring decades legal experience to the table and are prepared to protect your rights and best interests. Find out how we can help.