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Texas Divorce 101: The Basics

If you are thinking about getting divorced, chances are you've already thought about how much money you'll end up owing your ex-spouse. If you do decide to go ahead with the split, you might find yourself wondering what happens to your assets once you file for divorce.

In most states, including Texas, the court will divide everything into three categories: marital property, separate property, and debts. Marital property includes things such as bank accounts, cars, homes, stocks, bonds, retirement funds, and other items owned by both spouses prior to the relationship. Separate property refers to anything purchased with one partner's sole earnings, while debts include bills and loans incurred during the course of the marriage.

The process of dividing assets and liabilities can be complicated, especially when you consider that each state handles divorces differently. For example, some states require that couples pay off certain debts before splitting up, while others don't. Some states allow for alimony payments while others don't. And some states make it easier for people to obtain child support, while others don't offer that option.

In addition to figuring out how to divvy up assets and liabilities, you'll also have to figure out how to handle tax obligations. Depending on where you live, filing taxes jointly could mean paying less in federal income taxes. However, if you choose to file separately, you may owe additional taxes because you won't receive a refund. You'll also have to take care of estate planning issues. Many states require that individuals set up trusts to distribute assets upon death.

A good lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of divorce. A financial planner can also provide guidance on how to best manage your finances during and after the split.

How to File for Divorce in Texas

The good news is that if both parties meet the requirements above, it doesn't matter where you live. You can still file for divorce in Texas.

To be eligible to file for a divorce in Texas, at the very least, both spouses must have lived in Texas continuously for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. If one party meets that requirement, however, he or she cannot file for divorce unless the other person does too.

If neither spouse lives in Texas, then the couple must have lived together in the state for at least 90 days prior to filing for divorce, according to the Texas Family Code.

If either spouse does not qualify under the law, they can still file for divorce if they reside in different states. However, they will have to file for divorce in the court closest to where they currently reside.

Grounds for Divorce in Texas

Texas law makes it easier for couples to end their marriages without having to prove fault. A couple must live separately and apart for six months before seeking a divorce. Then, the petitioner must show that he or she has been separated from his or her spouse for at least 180 days. Finally, the judge must determine whether the marriage is irreconcilable.

If you decide to file for divorce, make sure to include information about why you want to file for divorce. For example, if there are children involved, you might want to mention how long you have lived separately and what kind of custody arrangements you want. You could even explain that you filed because of domestic violence or abuse.

The court will look at each case individually, but some common examples of grounds for divorce include adultery, cruelty, desertion, imprisonment, insanity, habitual drunkenness, bigamy, fraud, separation due to war, or voluntary separation.

How to Split Up Assets During a Divorce in Texas

Texas law presumes that all property and income earned during the marriage belong equally to both spouses. This means that the state divides up the couple's assets in the divorce process. For example, if you are married and earn $100,000 per year, the court will consider the entire amount to be marital property.

On the flip side, the court will equally split all debts incurred during your marriage between you and your partner. If you owe $10,000 on a credit card and your ex owes $20,000 on another, the court will equally divide those debts.

The judge will decide what property is separate property – that is, property that only belongs to one spouse. Property acquired before the marriage is considered separate property. A party to the divorce process can also argue that certain properties acquired during the marriage are separate property.

For instance, suppose you purchase a home while living together, but it doesn't become yours until after the wedding. You can claim that the house is separate property because it wasn't purchased until after the marriage began.

If you're considering a prenuptial agreement, make sure you understand how the law works.

How to Divide Property in Texas After Divorce

Division of property issues arise frequently in divorce cases. In fact, it’s the most common issue that couples face. This article offers some tips on how to divide property in Texas after divorce.

The division of property is governed by Section 3.63 of the Family Code. It provides guidelines for the court to follow when making a decision about what belongs to whom. A couple must consider a number of things when trying to decide how to divide marital property. These include fault, economic circumstances, tax consequences, and children’s needs.

In addition, there are several ways to divide the property. One way is to split everything equally. Another is to give each party half of the total value. Yet another option is to award 50% of the total value to one person and 50% to the other. If you want to make sure that both parties receive something, you might choose to assign different values to the items.

For example, if you had $100,000 worth of stocks and bonds and your husband wanted to keep his car while your wife wanted to keep her house, you could assign a lower value to the stock portfolio and a higher value to the car. Then, you could split the difference and come up with a fair amount of money for each party.

If you want to avoid having to pay taxes twice on the same asset, you might want to sell off certain properties before splitting the proceeds. However, it’s important to remember that selling property isn’t always easy. You may find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do next.

You may even end up in a position where you owe money to someone because you sold off property without paying the bill. To ensure that you won’t encounter problems down the road, consult with an experienced attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can provide guidance and offer advice throughout the entire process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

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