During a marriage, couples typically accrue both assets and debts. If a married couple decides to divorce, it must be determined how any property obtained during the marriage will be divided. How property should be distributed is often a point of contention in divorce cases. Although the laws of Texas provide clear guidelines regarding an appropriate distribution of property, issues can still arise as to what constitutes an equitable distribution. If you wish to seek a divorce, it is critical to retain a skilled San Antonio property division lawyer to advocate on your behalf. Allan R. Manka is a capable family law attorney who has been assisting parties in Texas divorce actions for over 40 years.Community and Separate Property
Texas is a community property state, which means that any property accrued by either spouse during the marriage is presumed to be community property. Community property can include real estate, stocks, retirement benefits, and money in bank accounts. Separate property is any property that is not community property but is owned solely by one spouse. Separate property consists of any property owned or claimed by a spouse prior to the marriage or specifically precluded from being community property through a pre-marital or post-marital agreement. Additionally, any property that either spouse acquired during the marriage by descent, devise, or gift is considered separate property. Lastly, compensation in a personal injury claim is regarded as separate property, except for damages for loss of earning capacity during the marriage.
While sometimes the character of property is easily discernible, the parties also may disagree on this issue. For example, if a spouse has a retirement account to which he or she contributed both before and during the marriage, the spouses may dispute which portion of the account should be deemed community property. The party arguing that the property is separate must prove the character of the property by evidence that is clear and convincing. In some cases in which the character of the property is disputed, a property division attorney in San Antonio can work with a forensic accountant to trace the character of the property to the time when it was obtained.Equitable Distribution
The Texas courts promote the amicable resolution of family law disputes and allow parties to develop their own agreement as to how community property should be divided. The agreement must be submitted to the court, and if the court finds the agreement to be fair, it will approve the agreement, and both the parties and the court will be bound by the agreement. In many cases, however, the parties cannot agree as to how community property should be divided, and court intervention is required.
Under Texas law, courts are obligated to divide community property in a just and fair manner. Just and fair does not mean a strictly equal division of property, however. Instead, there are several factors that the court will consider in determining what constitutes an equitable distribution. A San Antonio property division attorney can explain the likely impact of these factors on your case. First, the court may look at the health, age, and earning capacity of each spouse, as well as the separate property of each spouse. Additionally, the court will weigh whether the parties have minor children and, if so, whether one parent is the primary conservator. The court will also take into account the length of the marriage and consider whether either party was at fault for the demise of the marriage. Lastly, the court may look at the tax implications of dividing the property. If you intend to seek a divorce, it is vital to obtain the services of a skilled divorce attorney who will vigorously pursue an equitable division of assets.Consult an Experienced Divorce Attorney
In most divorce cases, one of the most significant points of contention is the manner in which property should be divided. If you intend to seek a divorce, it is vital to retain an experienced divorce attorney to represent your interests. Allan R. Manka will assertively pursue a distribution of property that is beneficial to you. Attorney Manka’s office is in San Antonio, and he guides people through the divorce process in Adkins, Atascosa, Converse, Elmendorf, Helotes, Universal City, and Von Ormy, as well as other areas in Bexar County. Mr. Manka can be reached at 210-824-1800 or through the online form to schedule a free and confidential meeting with a property division lawyer in the San Antonio area.