Property division is a big point of contention in most divorces. Couples often fight over who will keep what, who will pay alimony and a litany of related issues. However, one issue that is often overlooked is the division of marital debt. Married couples often fail to realize that they may be on the hook for each other’s debts incurred during the marriage. If you plan on getting a divorce in Texas, you need to understand the state’s property division laws, including those that address marital debt. Below is an overview of how marital debt is divided in Texas following a divorce. If you have additional questions about the Texas divorce process, please contact a property division lawyer for assistance.
What is community property?
Texas is what is known as a “community property” state. Community property, also called marital property, is a term that refers to assets acquired during the marriage. Separate property, on the other hand, is property owned by one spouse prior to marriage or received as a gift or inheritance during the marriage. Generally speaking, only community property is subject to division in a divorce case.
How marital debt is divided in Texas
Community property can include much more than physical property. Bank accounts, retirement accounts and pensions, parts of a business, and other intangible assets can all be considered community property. Another type of intangible property that is subject to division in a divorce is debt. Debt can include:
- Car loans
- Personal loans
- Student loan debt
- Home mortgage
- Credit card debt
- Other liabilities
Debt division options
The way that debt is divided in divorce depends on several factors, including the unique circumstances involved in the divorce, the nature and amount of debts the spouses have, and the amount of the spouses’ community and separate property. Couples usually have several options available for addressing debt in a divorce, including:
- Selling community property to eliminate or reduce debt,
- Giving one spouse a disproportionate share of marital assets in exchange for taking on more debt, and
- Negotiating a larger alimony award to offset his or her receipt of a larger share of the debt.
Legal assistance with marital debt
Divorce is rarely easy, and property division disputes add tension to an already difficult process. Therefore, if you need a divorce in Texas, you need to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side. At Youngberg Law Firm, in addition to walking you through the Texas divorce process, attorney Mike Youngberg will negotiate on your behalf during the property division process, taking the steps necessary to ensure that you come away with a property division agreement that is reasonable and just.
In addition, our talented Texas attorney can help you with issues like child custody, child support, modifications of existing orders, enforcements, characterization of property, spousal maintenance, temporary restraining orders, and protective orders. Please contact us as soon as possible for a consultation.