Protecting Your Property or Business During a Texas Divorce
During a divorce, the court divides the marital property. The judge is allowed to divide assets in any way he or she decides is “just and right.” Because Texas is a community property state, most property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and is divided as a judge sees fit. With the help of your divorce attorney, it is often possible to prove that certain assets are “separate property” which cannot be taken from you and will not be awarded to your spouse in a divorce.
Most assets are community property, including homes, cars and furniture, as well as money, investments and benefits. Even business interests are generally considered to be community property.
In order for assets to be considered separate property, you must be able to show a court by clear and convincing evidence that the assets are not communal. There are a few reasons that property will be treated as separate, including:
- The property was owned by you before the marriage.
- The property was inherited only by you.
- You received the property as a gift intended only for you.
- You won a judgement or reached a settlement for a personal injury and you received funds (funds awarded for lost earning capacity during the marriage are community property).
Even though most property isn’t protected from division in a Texas divorce, you may still be able to protect a specific asset. The parties are allowed to negotiate and create a plan to split community property. This means that you can often choose to keep an asset such as a home, a business or a vehicle, in exchange for giving up other property. If you are unable to convince your former spouse to enter into an agreement, a judge will conduct the division of property. At this point, your divorce attorney will vigorously pursue your interests in court.
Prenuptial (premarital) agreements are an effective tool for protecting your property. These documents can spell out the exact distribution of assets in case of divorce, therefore protecting either spouse in case they generate substantial income during the marriage. This tool requires planning ahead and agreement of the parties.
If you are trying to protect your property in a divorce, you are going to need help. Robert Reid McInvale, Attorney at Law is an established Houston-area family law firm. Our practice consists entirely of family law cases. To arrange a consultation, contact us online or call us at 866-959-7824.