Dividing Homes in a Divorce in Texas
If you’re going through a divorce, you’re probably wondering how to divide your assets. One of the most challenging tasks is deciding who can keep the home you both shared. You can split other things, such as money, equally and fairly, but you can’t cut a house in half. The asset division lawyers at Adams Law Firm could help you get through this overwhelming stage in the divorce process and work hard to reach your desired outcome.
Taking the proper steps while dividing up the property you shared with your spouse could prevent major issues. You want everything to go smoothly, so you’re not battling through divorce proceedings for years. Texas laws determine how to divide specific assets, including homes, so there’s no question about who gets what.
Adams Law Firm is ready to advocate for your rights and fight for what’s rightfully yours. When you have an experienced legal team in your corner, you could avoid the common pitfalls divorcing couples make that create emotional and financial hardships. We will use our knowledge of state laws and create an effective plan to keep you in your house or sell it and split the profits in a way that makes the most sense.
Call us today at (281) 391-9237 for a consultation to discuss your legal options.
What is Community Property?
Texas is a community property state. That means you and your spouse equally own any property acquired while you were married. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as:
- If one person received the money to purchase the house through a lawsuit, they could claim they are the sole owner. Settlement payouts for lost income through a worker’s compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit would not apply. In that case, the divorcing couple would both have ownership over the home.
- If one person received the home through an inheritance or as a gift from someone, they would be the sole owner.
The house both of you lived in isn’t the only real estate considered a community asset. If you own undeveloped real estate or a rental property, you might have to find a way to divide it during the divorce.
Transferring the Title or Selling the Marital Home
There are multiple options for dividing your home reasonably.
- The trade off other assets – If you want to keep the house, you could arrange for your spouse to keep your car, retirement benefits, or another asset they want. Conversely, you could give up your home in exchange for something your spouse owns that you would like to keep.
- Sell the house and split the profits – One of the easiest ways to divide a home is selling it. Neither of you can continue to live in the house, but you can split the proceeds from the sale.
- Buyout your spouse – You can come to a buyout agreement. If you both have an equal interest in your house, you can create a payment schedule for one of you to buy out the other by paying them a certain amount of money over a specified period.
- Refinance the house – If you have a mortgage on the home and want to remove your spouse’s name, you could refinance. You would have to determine a new payment schedule with the lender, pay off your spouse what they’re owed, and make mortgage payments directly to the lender instead of to your spouse.
Refinancing and buying out your spouse can be a complicated process if there’s a mortgage on the house. It’s critical to hire a lawyer to assist you with the process to meet your needs during divorce proceedings.
Factors Contributing to Dividing the Marital Home
If you and your spouse can’t agree on how to split the home, you might have to go to court. Although it’s common to think dividing an asset 50/50 is fair, it could actually work against someone. A judge will typically review the circumstances involved to determine how to divide the marital house. Common factors they might use include:
- Ages of each spouse
- Current serious illnesses suffered
- Length of the marriage
- Disparities in the education of the divorcing couple
- Income of both people
- Whether one is the primary caregiver of shared children
- Amount of additional assets owned by each person
When minor children are involved in a divorce, it could significantly affect how a judge will split the marital home. They will consider which parent has primary legal custody and if the children reside in the house in question. Since it is typically in the kids’ best interest for them to stay in the home they currently live in; the judge could decide the parent with primary custody can continue to stay there with their children.
If spousal maintenance comes into play, it could also affect the outcome of a judge’s decision regarding the marital house. Typically, Texas courts don’t award spousal maintenance unless unique circumstances exist, such as:
- One person is disabled and can’t support themselves financially
- One person was convicted of domestic violence against the children or their spouse
- The divorcing couple were married for at least ten years, and the individual seeking spousal maintenance can’t earn a living.
The value of the award determined by the judge could decrease the value of the home paid to the person providing spousal maintenance.
A judge could also decide it’s best for the couple to arrange a buyout, refinance the mortgage, or sell the house. It depends on the circumstances of the divorce and contributing factors.
If you’re going through a divorce and want to learn about your legal options for keeping your home or giving it to your spouse to meet your interests and needs, call Adams Law Firm for a consultation. Our Katy asset division lawyers have over 35 years of experience providing the legal representation and guidance our clients need to navigate the complex divorce process. We can assist you during court proceedings and fight to try to reach a favorable outcome.
Call us at (281) 391-9237 right now, and let us get started on your case.