Anyone who has been through a divorce knows how stressful the process can be. Whether you are preparing to file for divorce or you’re in the midst of one, you probably have a lot of questions about divorce, along with some uncertainties about your future and the future of your children, if you have them.
One of the main questions people have when going through a divorce is, “Who will keep the house and continue to live in it?” The answer to that question depends on where you live, because laws vary state by state when it comes to the division of property in a divorce proceeding.
Community Property and Equitable Distribution
It’s important to understand the difference between community property and equitable distribution as it relates to dividing property during a divorce.
In certain states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico), a married person’s property is deemed to be either community property (owned equally by both spouses) or the sole property of one spouse. You should also know that Texas is a community property state. During a divorce proceeding, community property is divided between both of the spouses, while each spouse is able to keep his or her own separate property.
All other states not mentioned above follow equitable distribution laws. In these states, property acquired during the marriage belongs to the spouse who earned it. It’s also helpful to understand the definition of “equitable.” Equitable distribution means “fair” division; it does not mean “equal” division.
Who Keeps the Home in a Divorce?
During a divorce, both spouses are asked to disclose to the court their income and any debts they currently owe. Both spouses are also asked about property that is owned, and whether that property is considered marital property or separate property. Texas law stipulates that your property is considered separate property if you owned it prior to the marriage, or you inherited or received property as a “gift.”
In general, any property that is not deemed to be separate property in a Texas divorce is considered “marital property,” and must be equally split. In many divorces, property division is not a cut-and-dry decision. Several factors are taken into consideration before a final decision is made.
Technically speaking, community property laws in the state of Texas state that each party gets half of the marital home. However, homes cannot be divided in half—and ultimately, the judge assigned to your case will decide which spouse will keep the home.
As you can imagine, even in the most amicable divorces, dividing property and belongings can get heated. That’s why it’s critical to hire an aggressive divorce attorney in San Antonio, TX, who knows how to handle property issues in a divorce case. You want to hire an attorney who ensures that you, your property, and your interests are well represented when you go to court.
For More Information
For a free consultation and more information about division of property during a divorce, contact the Law Office of Steven C. Benke. Don’t leave your family or property vulnerable in a divorce proceeding. Get personalized, one-on-one legal support from the best and most experienced divorce and family law practice in San Antonio, Texas. We are here to help you manage the divorce process every step of the way.