When it comes to dividing up property in Texas, divorcing spouses face some unique challenges. Not only is Texas one of only a few states states that still use community property guidelines when dividing property, real estate is a uniquely complex asset with many complicating factors.
If you and your spouse are heading for divorce, be sure that you carefully consider your real estate holdings before you wade into a complex property division negotiation. You may lose a great deal of time and resources fighting over improperly valued assets with deceptive liabilities entangled in them.
It is generally wise to consult with an experienced Texas divorce attorney who can help you gain a firm grasp on your financial situation and prioritize which assets to fight for and which to let go more easily. With proper guidance, you can navigate Texas’s unique property division laws and achieve the divorce you need.
If you only own one home, should one of you keep it?
Realistically, most divorcing couples’ greatest asset is their home. Because it represents such a large investment, it may seem as though keeping the home in the divorce is the one hill you should choose to die on.
However, owning a home is a complex responsibility, not merely an asset. Most homeowners who divorce do so while they still owe a balance on their mortgage. If you still owe on your mortgage, can you continue to make the mortgage payments without two incomes?
Also, it is important to understand whether or not your and your spouse’s names are both on the mortgage. If you qualified for the mortgage based on dual incomes, your lender may object to your keeping the mortgage in your sole name. In many instances, this requires refinancing the loan in your own name, which may mean your overall payment increases. You may also find difficulty getting a loan approval if your income is not sufficient to pay the mortgage.
Beyond these complications, it is important to understand the costs of keeping a home. Not only does owning a home generally entail ongoing maintenance costs, but also property taxes. Before you put everything else on the line to keep your home, be sure you have a solid plan to address these issues.
Do you own more than one piece of real estate?
If you and your spouse own multiple properties, then you should consider having your properties properly appraised. While it may seem like a simple matter to simply divvy up the properties between the two of you, this may not actually create an equal property division.
In some cases, it is necessary to sell off one or more pieces of real estate and split the proceeds between spouses.
In light of the recent devastation we experienced from hurricane Harvey, real estate values throughout the area may suffer a serious slump for the next several months or even years. Be sure to consider all your options before you commit to any one strategy.
Texas requires equal property division in divorces, which is not always simple to determine. Before you get in over your head attempting to properly divide property, be sure to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you fully prepare for the property division process and protect your priorities.