Texas is a community property state, meaning all property acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses even if titled only in the name of one spouse. The court divides community property equitably. Each spouse retains their separate property.
Equitable does not mean a straight 50/50. When dividing property, the court considers many factors such as earning power disparities, health issues, child custody, educational levels, and future employability. In egregious cases involving abuse or intentional cruelty, the court may also consider fault for the divorce in making the property division.
If both spouses contribute to a business’ growth and development, it may have become a community property asset. When this happens, parties often request business valuations and propose a division based upon that valuation. Once complete, the party with the most significant role in the business might buy out the other party’s interest. If the business was formed before the marriage or the other spouse did not participate, the business may not be a community property asset. Before making any final decisions on a company owned by a person involved in a divorce, consult with a family law attorney and your business attorney.
Pension and retirement benefits earned during marriage are community property. Like businesses, parties value the pension or retirement benefits earned during the marriage, and the court then decides on an equitable distribution.
If both parties have similar earning capacity and each has their own retirement benefits, a court may award parties their own accounts. If there is a significant difference, awards of other community property may make up for the difference to accomplish an overall equitable division.
Again, family law cases are as diverse as the people involved. Before agreeing to any division or settling a divorce, speak with a board certified family attorney to ensure all of your interests are protected.