Houston couples planning to divorce quickly discover that the division of property and child custody is a complicated process. Divorcing couples who try to navigate these tricky issues without legal representation find the process takes longer and is more challenging.
If you’re seeking a divorce the best thing to do is to schedule an attorney consultation with a divorce lawyer in Houston, Texas.
What You Need to Know About Property Division in Texas
One of the most contentious parts of the divorce process is the equitable distribution of marital property. In Texas, there is community property and separate property. Community property is anything that was bought during the marriage.
Property that qualifies as community property includes items such as:
- Furniture and other household items
In Texas, pensions and business assets are considered community property too. All community property must be divided between the divorcing couple.
Separate property is anything that the spouses owned before they were married or anything inherited or gifted to only one party. Spouses keep their separate property and it’s not subject to property division laws.
“Just and Right” Property Division
Many divorcing couples are rightfully concerned about fair property division. To ensure this happens, Texas law has put in place “just and right” property division. Often, people assume this means that everything will be divided equally. However, that’s not how property is divided.
The courts consider many factors when determining how property is divided. They consider the following:
- Earning power
- Health issues
- Custody arrangements
- And more
Hiring a divorce lawyer in Texas never guarantees a precise outcome, but it does give you a better chance at getting a fair deal. Lawyers advocate for their clients and make sure their rights are protected during equitable property division negotiations.
How Child Custody Works in Texas
Dissolving a marriage when children are involved is an even trickier situation. The children’s best interests should always be at the heart of any child custody case. Sometimes this isn’t easy to do when divorcing spouses are involved in combative divorce proceedings.
During a child custody case, terms one will hear include sole custody (or sole conservatorship) and joint custody (or joint conservatorship). Here’s a brief overview of what each of these terms means:
- Sole custody or Sole Conservatorship: A parent with sole custody of their child has exclusive decision-making authority for the following matters of the child: primary residence, child support, invasive medical treatment, psychiatric and psychological treatment, educational decisions, legal decisions, management of earnings, acting as the child’s agent and management of the child’s estate. In essence, the parent has the singular authority to make all major decisions regarding the children’s upbringing. The sole conservator does not need the permission or agreement of the other parent. Visitation rights are typically granted to the non-custodial parent.
- Joint custody or Joint Conservatorship: Texas family law allows both parents to share the rights typically given to a sole conservator in a joint manner. That means one or more of the following parental rights are exercised by agreement of the parents, or each parent independently of the other parent: invasive medical treatment, psychiatric and psychological treatment, educational decisions, legal decisions, management of earnings, acting as the child’s agent and management of the child’s estate. In a joint child custody arrangement, despite the sharing of parental rights, only one parent will have the right to establish the primary residence of the child and receive child support. That person is called the primary joint conservator.
If you’re planning to file for a divorce, schedule an attorney consultation with a divorce lawyer in Houston, Texas, to make sure your property and parenting rights are protected.