Divorce may become contentious around property division. Part of this may correlate to the misinformation circulating on how the court handles a couple’s finances.
Dividing a couple’s assets ultimately comes down to who owns it and how a judge looks at the divorce. Get the facts about what the court looks at when deciding who gets what in a divorce.
What type of property does a couple split?
Most property accumulated during the marriage by either spouse is community property in the eyes of the court. Any community property is eligible for dividing during the divorce. Property acquired before the marriage is the separate property of the respective spouse. It does not get split. This also applies to property gained after a couple separates.
What does “just and right” mean?
The Texas code indicates that if a judge needs to decide how to split the property, he or she considers what is “just and right.” This gives the judge the ability to examine the totality of the situation before doling out money. The judge may consider:
- Who cares for the children most of the time
- Who makes more money
- Who has more separate property
The judge then splits the assets according to what he or she deems is fair.
What happens to debts?
Property is anything that is an asset or owned by the couple. However, most marriages end with debt as well. As such, a couple must consider how to split up the debt. Absent an agreement, the judge will again apply the “just and right” principle to debt division.
Knowing what factors influence a judge’s decision in dividing property may drive a couple to compromise. This way, the direction of their finances remains with them and not in the hands of a third-party.