The marital home is often a topic of great debate during divorce, so is it safe from property division?
If there is one marital asset that causes the most contention during a divorce, it is the marital home. Texas is a community property state, which means that during a divorce, a judge will divide the marital property equally between the two spouses. This does not always mean that property is split equally in half. Judges have a lot of discretion in divorce proceedings, and there are many factors that could affect how marital property is divided.
This leads to many questions. When it comes to the home the couple lived in, one of the biggest inquiries is what happens if one spouse purchased the property prior to the marriage, and only that person’s name appears on the deed. Property acquired prior to the marriage is usually deemed separate property and therefore, safe from property division. A family home, however, is different because so many different factors affect if it is divided and if so, how.
How Much did the Other Spouse Contribute to Expenses?
If the spouse that did not purchase the home still contributed to its expenses during the marriage, a judge may determine that it should be included in property division hearings. These contributions include utility payments, property taxes, and more, that helped with the upkeep of the home and ensured that it remained the property of the couple.
When a judge finds that the other spouse made considerable contributions to the marital home, they may consider it marital property and therefore, susceptible to property division rules.
Was the House Purchased for the Marriage?
Sometimes, people move into a home their new spouse has had for years while in other cases, a spouse has only owned the home for a few months. In this latter scenario, it is likely that the home was purchased with the intent of it becoming the marital home. When that is the case, a judge will typically include it as community property during property division.
If, on the other hand, a spouse had owned the home for several years, and did not purchase it with the intention of it becoming a marital home, a judge would likely consider it separate property and would not divide it.
Which Spouse Added to the Home’s Value?
The value of the home, how much that value has increased during the marriage, and who was responsible for that increase, is also taken into consideration when it is time to divide the family home. For example, even if the home was purchased years before the marriage, but the spouse that did not purchase it made renovations that increase the home’s value, a judge will likely also take that into consideration when dividing the home.
Our Texas Family Lawyers can Help with Your Property Division Issues
Property division in Texas seems like a fairly straightforward concept, but it can easily become extremely complicated. If you need help with your divorce, and all the terms associated with it, our Houston family lawyers at Scott M. Brown & Associates can help. We can effectively negotiate with the other side to get you the best settlement possible, and help you get your divorce finalized as quickly and easily as possible. Call us today at (281) 972-4386 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help.