Frequently Asked Questions about Houston Community Property and Separate Property Division

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What is community property?

Community property is any valuable asset that is acquired by either spouse during their marriage. Typically, this property is considered to belong to both spouses jointly. Seek the advice of a Houston community property lawyer to determine your list of community assets.

What is separate property?

Separate property is assets owned by either spouse prior to being married. These may include purchases, inheritances and gifts and also property purchased during the course of a marriage with funds that belonged solely to one spouse prior to being married. Separate property may also include a legal award for compensation made to one spouse, excepting any award made for loss of income or loss of future earnings as “income and future earnings” occur within a marriage and are community property. Seek the advice of a Houston property division attorney to determine which of your assets are separate and not divisible in a divorce.

What is an economic contribution claim?

If joint funds in a marriage are used to increase the value of one spouse’s separate property, the other spouse may seek reimbursement for the amount of benefit. This “economic contribution” may also be claimed for funds spent to build or enhance a business that is the separate property of one spouse.

How is property divided in a divorce?

If a couple cannot divide their community property, the presiding court will divide the assets in a manner it determines to be “just and right”. This does not always mean evenly. A court may take different situations into account when making its ruling, which is why you should always consult a Houston divorce law firm to negotiate your divorce settlement before the case goes to court.

How are debts divided in a divorce?

Just as with community assets, a court will also divide community debts in a “just and right manner”. While a divorce court cannot restructure contractual debt obligations, it can order the spouses to pay in accordance with their level of indebtedness. A Houston divorce law firm will help you negotiate your community debts alongside your community property to achieve a mutually beneficial settlement.

What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a separate order that divides a pension, 401k or other employee benefit plan. The QDRO is in addition to the divorce decree. It must be signed by the presiding judge and approved by the Plan Administrator in order to divide retirement or other plans benefits.

When facing these and other questions during a divorce, it is important to have a qualified legal team working to protect your assets. The Houston divorce law firm of John K. Grubb & Associates, PC has the legal expertise to guide you “step by step” through the divorce process to insure that you reach the best possible resolution of your circumstances.

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