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Equitable vs. equal property division

On Behalf of | May 22, 2023 | Divorce

When you get divorced, you are faced with the task of dividing the assets that you own with your spouse. This undertaking will be addressed differently in different states. For instance, Texas is a community property state, which means that the state generally presumes property to be acquired after marriage to be jointly owned.

Yet, the state also recognizes the equitable distribution standard in the event of a dispute. What does this mean for you as you get divorced in Texas?

Splitting marital assets

The equal division standard employed by some states is fairly straightforward. The value of the assets that a couple has acquired while married need to be divided equally between spouses in the event of a litigated divorce.

Equitable division, on the other hand, allows a court to consider a number of different factors. It tries to consider what would be the “fairest” for those involved. For instance, someone who has a far lower level of income than their ex may be given more financial assets because they’re going to need them after the divorce. In Texas, the court can use equitable distribution if there is a fair and just reason to do so. Spouses may also divide assets however they like if they can reach an agreement outside of court.

Is everything included?

The assets that are included in this process are those that you have acquired during your marriage. Something that you brought to your marriage is usually considered a separate asset, so you don’t have to share its value with your spouse. One exception to this rule may apply if the assets have been commingled, or mixed together. If you had $100,000 when you got married, but you and your spouse used it as a down payment on a jointly owned home, for example, that asset likely now belongs to both of you, at least to a degree.

Dividing what you own

Dividing your assets may sound simpler in Texas, but it can still get complicated — especially if there is a dispute. It’s important for you to know all of the legal options that you have at this time. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.