Texas Divorce: What Should Happen to the Family Home?


Going through a divorce isn’t fun, even if it’s a mutual decision. Filing the necessary documents and dividing the debts and assets is often a hassle for both spouses. Furthermore, you will also need to start looking for a new place to live if your spouse is awarded the family home.
 
Fortunately, you can work with an experienced Dallas real estate before the divorce is finalized to help you locate your next home. A knowledgeable agent can help you find Dallas homes for sale so that you won’t be burdened with a home search during the divorce proceedings.
 
In this post, we’ll discuss how property is divided after a divorce in Texas, what may happen to your family home, and why you may want to work with a real estate agent before the divorce is finalized. Let’s get started!

How is property divided after a divorce in Texas?


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The divorce rate in Texas has been steadily declining in recent years. According to a recent study by Statista, there are fewer than two divorces per 1,000 residents in Texas. Nevertheless, divorce is a possibility for any married couple. Moreover, the process is often long and complicated, and spouses are subject to the division of their marital assets and debts.
 
During a divorce, spouses can negotiate the division of their community properties. However, if they cannot amicably determine the terms of the divorce, the court will hold a series of hearings, and a judge will work out the terms for them.
 
The Texas Family Code, Chapter 3 states that marital assets (including the family home) and debts are divided using the community property standard. This means all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage are evenly divided between them, unless a written agreement was made saying otherwise, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. A family home is most likely community property if it was purchased by both or one spouse while they were married. 
 
However, a home qualifies as separate property if one spouse purchased it before the marriage. In this instance, the home will remain with the spouse who purchased it. Per the Texas Family Code, separate property mainly consists of property owned before the marriage. It can also include property obtained as a gift or inheritance during the marriage. Therefore, if you inherited your family home during your marriage, it may qualify as separate property. 
 
A spouse must have clear and convincing evidence to establish that a home is a separate property, such as the name and date on the deed. However, a home is probably community property if it was purchased during the marriage, regardless of the name on the deed. Your divorce attorney can help you identify if your family home is a community or separate property and help you understand your options for how to proceed.

What happens to Dallas real estate after a divorce?


Texas Family Code, Chapter 7
outlines how marital property is awarded. However, there is no specific rule stating who gets the family home after a divorce. Judges use their discretion to determine how community property is divided in a manner that is “just and right” regarding spouses and children. Additionally, they can use the following factors as a guide:
 
  • Income disparities between spouses
  • The spouses’ capacities and abilities
  • The spouses’ needs and financial condition
  • The spouses’ fault in ending the divorce, such as abuse, adulterous acts, etc.
  • Any potential benefits a non-fault spouse would have received if the marriage had continued, such as health and life insurance
  • The property to be divided
  • The spouses’ separate estates
The spouse who is awarded the home ultimately depends on the specifics of the case. The court sometimes requires one spouse to buy out the other’s interest in the home. Additionally, it may award one spouse additional assets to offset the home's value. In other cases, the judge may order the spouses to sell the home and split the profit.

How long after filing for divorce will it be finalized?


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In Texas, a judge cannot grant a divorce until at least 60 days after the divorce petition is filed. Therefore, an uncontested divorce (one that is mutually agreed upon) can be finalized within approximately two months. On the other hand, a contested divorce (one that contains disagreement between the spouses), which goes through the court process can take much longer to gather evidence, hold court hearings, and finalize. For this reason, many divorces can take up to a year or more to resolve.
 
You will want to start looking for Dallas homes for sale soon after your divorce petition is filed if you think your family home will be awarded to your spouse. Since finding a new home may be the last on your to-do list during a divorce, you can contact a Texas real estate agent to find prospects, schedule showings, and even get video tours of the property to make the process simple. Working with an agent to find a home before the divorce is finalized can ensure a smooth transition to your next home.
 
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to what will happen to your family home after a divorce. If the home is community property, either you and your spouse will have to negotiate the ownership or the court will decide for you.
 
A judge will analyze your life and the specific details of your divorce case to determine who will keep the home. You can also contact a divorce lawyer to help you collect evidence for your case in order to keep the home. However, it is a good idea to start your search for a new home sooner rather than later if you think your spouse may keep the family home.

Do you need help finding Dallas homes for sale? Contact Heather Shimala to speak with a professional today! Our knowledgeable Dallas real estate agents can help you find your next home after a divorce.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock



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