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Property Division

The general rule of property division established under Texas Family Code § 7.001 states, “In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.” The division of marital property often becomes complicated because of disputes over what constitutes community property as opposed to separate property.

Under Texas Family Code § 3.001, a spouse’s separate property consists of:

  • the property owned or claimed by the spouse before marriage;
  • the property acquired by the spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent; and
  • the recovery for personal injuries sustained by the spouse during marriage, except any recovery for loss of earning capacity during marriage.

Property acquired by either spouse during marriage is rebuttably presumed to be community property under the Texas Family Code § 3.002. Texas is one of only nine community property states in the nation. Community property means that all property acquired during a marriage is presumed by law to be jointly owned unless proven otherwise by clear and convincing evidence.

Lawyer for Property Division in Houston, TX

If you are trying to divide marital property as part of your divorce in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to make sure that you have experienced legal representation. Sydow Law Firm represents clients going through divorce in Houston and many surrounding areas of Fort Bend County and Harris County.

Michael Sydow is an attorney skilled and experienced in divorce and family law matters attorney in Houston and its surrounding counties. You can have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (713) 622-9700 to receive a free initial consultation.


Harris County Property Division Information Center


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Texas Property Division Laws

Texas Family Code § 3.003(a) states that property possessed by either spouse during or upon the dissolution of marriage is presumed to be community property. Under Texas Family Code § 3.003(b), clear and convincing evidence is the degree of proof required to establish that property is separate property.

In addition to the general rule of property division established under Texas Family Code § 7.001, Texas Family Code § 7.002(a) further states that the court must order a division of the following real and personal property, wherever situated, in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage:

  • property that was acquired by either spouse while domiciled in another state and that would have been community property if the spouse who acquired the property had been domiciled in this state at the time of the acquisition; or
  • property that was acquired by either spouse in exchange for real or personal property and that would have been community property if the spouse who acquired the property so exchanged had been domiciled in this state at the time of its acquisition.

Under Texas Family Code § 7.002(b), the court will award to a spouse the following real and personal property, wherever situated, as the separate property of the spouse in a decree of divorce or annulment:

  • property that was acquired by the spouse while domiciled in another state and that would have been the spouse’s separate property if the spouse had been domiciled in this state at the time of acquisition; or
  • property that was acquired by the spouse in exchange for real or personal property and that would have been the spouse’s separate property if the spouse had been domiciled in this state at the time of acquisition.

Texas Family Code § 7.002(c) allows the court to confirm the following as the separate property of a spouse if partitioned or exchanged by written agreement of the spouses:

  • income and earnings from the spouses’ property, wages, salaries, and other forms of compensation received on or after January 1 of the year in which the suit for dissolution of marriage was filed; or
  • income and earnings from the spouses’ property, wages, salaries, and other forms of compensation received in another year during which the spouses were married for any part of the year.

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Complex Property Division in Harris County

Every divorce has its own unique set of circumstances. In high net worth divorces where wealth is abundant among both parties, property may not be subject to as much dispute. On the other hand, some cases involve very specific types of property that have elements that satisfy the definitions of both community property and separate property.

In addition, if one or more spouse’s separate property has supported or increased the value of the community estate, the contributing spouse may be entitled to “reimbursement” if the amount contributed or the increase in value is properly proven. Likewise, if the spouses’ community estate has contributed to or increased the value of either spouse’s separate property, the community estate may be entitled to reimbursement.

Under Texas law, both spouses’ time, talent, and labor are considered community property. If one spouse has spent much of the marriage managing a separate property business or estate, the community estate may have a claim against the separate property estate for the value of the spouse’s time, talent, and labor.

For some couples, the way that property is divided can have very real and long-lasting effects on a spouse’s financial well-being. Sydow Law Firm has experience handling all kinds of complicated property division issues in divorce, including such assets as:

  • Asset protection trusts and devices;
  • Bank accounts;
  • Bonuses, commissions, and deferred compensation;
  • Business ownership rights;
  • Closely held corporations;
  • Commercial Real Estate;
  • Partnerships;
  • Farms, ranches, and livestock;
  • International assets;
  • Investment property;
  • Military pensions;
  • Motor vehicles;
  • Offshore investments and assets;
  • Professional practices and partnerships;
  • Residential, commercial, and vacation property;
  • Retirement accounts (401(k), IRA, deferred compensation) and pensions;
  • Royalties and dividends;
  • Separate property inheritances;
  • Stocks, bonds, securities, and investments;
  • Trusts; and
  • Valuables

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Texas Property Division Resources

Texas Family Code, Chapter 3 | Marital Property Rights and Liabilities — View the state law governing general rules for separate and community property in Texas. You can learn more about recordation of separate property, gifts between spouses, and proportional ownership of property by marital estates. You can view the full text of state laws relating to the award of marital property under Chapter 7 of the Texas Family Code.

 

Handbook of Texas Online, Joseph W. McKnight, “Community Property Law” — The Texas State Historical Association (THSA) is the oldest learned society in the state with the mission to “foster the appreciation, understanding, and teaching of the rich and unique history of Texas and, by example and through programs and activities, encourage and promote research, preservation, and publication of historical material affecting the state of Texas.” The Handbook of Texas Online is a THSA publication, and this article discusses the community property law in Texas. You can also find a link to an article on the state’s separate property law.


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Find a Property Division Attorney in Houston, TX

Are you trying to divide property as part of your divorce in Southeast Texas? You will want to contact Sydow Law Firm before engaging in any discussions or negotiations about property.

Houston divorce lawyer Michael Sydow assists individuals in communities throughout Harris County and Fort Bend County. Call (713) 622-9700 or fill out an online contact form to have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, no obligation consultation.


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