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What does equitable distribution in a Texas divorce mean?

Dividing property in a Texas divorce is as not as easy as splitting everything in half in equal shares for each spouse, as is done in some states. Although Texas is a community property state, it follows equitable distribution when it comes to asset division upon divorce.

What does this mean? How will it affect how much you receive in a divorce? Knowing what the law entails can help you understand how to approach seeking the property you want to keep.

What is community property?

Before your marriage, you owned your own belongings and received your own income and benefits. Your spouse has no claim to these. Once you got married, however, anything you acquired even under your sole name became the equal property of you both. Part of the divorce process includes discerning community property from separate property.

What is equitable distribution?

Despite community property law granting equal ownership, your spouse will not automatically receive an equal division of everything you both own. Instead, the court will take into account several factors concerning your marital and individual financial circumstances to determine a distribution that is fair for both parties. Examples of such factors are:

  • How much separate property you each own
  • What taxes you will have to pay on certain assets
  • The number of children involved and what their needs are
  • The capacity you each have to earn a sufficient income
  • The effect the divorce will have on your future financial standing

The court will include all types of income, property and benefits to ensure a complete and equitable division. However, you do not have to leave equitable distribution up to a judge to decide. With the help of an experienced family law attorney and divorce financial advisor, you and your spouse can come up with the agreement yourselves. The judge will then review it to make sure the division is accurate and fair.

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