Property Division FAQ

At Fabio & Merrill in Houston, our attorneys understand that people going through a divorce will have many questions and concerns about property division issues. While every case is unique, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

Will I get half the property in a divorce?

Texas is a community property state. All property determined to be community property is subject to division between the couple in a fair and equitable matter. Fair and equitable does not necessarily mean 50-50. There are a wide range of factors that need to be taken into consideration, and doing so may tip the balance so that one spouse gets more than half.

How do I distinguish between community and separate property?

On the surface, it may seem fairly simple to differentiate between community and separate property. Community property is all property acquired by both spouses during the marriage, except inheritances and gifts. Separate property is all property acquired prior to the marriage, as well as inheritances and gifts. However, matters get more complex, as some assets may have characteristics of both community and separate property.

Is my retirement account protected in a divorce?

Retirement accounts are not protected from asset division. Unless all or part of the retirement account can be classified as separate property because it was acquired prior to the marriage, it will be subject to division. There is a unique process for dividing this particular asset.

I own a business. How do I protect it during a divorce?

All or at least a portion of the business will likely be classified as community property and subject to division during the divorce. This does not mean you are not going to be able to keep your business, but your spouse may need to receive a greater share of other assets to balance things out. Businesses are one of the most challenging assets to divide. They must be carefully classified to understand which portion, if not all, is community property, and what the value of the business is. Only then can a strategy be devised to protect them.

I have unique assets such as oil and gas rights, antiques, art, cars, intellectual property and digital assets. Can I keep them during a divorce?

Often, property like oil and gas rights, antiques and art are family heirlooms that are passed on by inheritance or gift, making them separate property and not subject to asset division. However, if they are not able to be categorized as separate property, they will need to be divided. You may still be able to keep cherished items, but your spouse may need to receive a greater share of other assets in order to compensate for this. Experts may be necessary in order to evaluate these items properly.

My real estate holdings extend beyond the family home. How do I protect them during a divorce?

For many people, the family home is one of the biggest and most important assets that will have to be dealt with during a divorce. For others, there may be vacation property, rental property, ranch land, farm land or other real property. This property will need to be characterized as either separate or community property, valued and addressed accordingly.

A our law office, you will find a lawyer who is skilled in working with everything from the family home and retirement accounts to businesses, collections and other unique and complex assets.