What Happens to a House in a Divorce in Texas?
For many couples, their family home is the largest and most expensive asset they have. Dividing it in a divorce can present unique challenges.
Texas is a community property state
Texas is a community property state. What does this mean? It means that both spouses equally own the assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage. Among these assets is the marital home, regardless of whose name is on the deed or mortgage. In a Texas divorce, the marital home will be divided in a manner that is equal.
The court may determine that it would be unfair for one party to receive exclusive ownership of the marital home. They may decide that both parties should receive an equitable share of its value rather than one person keeping it outright. The court may also order that one spouse buy out the other's interest in the home or require them to sell it and divide the proceeds from the sale.
If minor children are involved in a Texas divorce case, custody and visitation arrangements must also be taken into account when dividing marital assets like a home. If one parent has primary custody of the minor children and wishes to keep living in the current family home after divorce, they may be granted exclusive possession of it until their youngest child reaches 18 years of age or graduates from high school.
Suggested: What Is the Texas Divorce Process?
How can two people split a house?
One person may agree to give up their interest in the home and take an equalization payment from their spouse instead. This means that if one spouse wants to keep the marital home, they can pay their spouse 50% of the value of the home or provide additional assets to offset the value.
Another option for a couple who wants to split a marital home is to sell it and divide the proceeds. This might involve negotiating about items such as who covers closing costs or mortgage payments still owed.
Selling a house takes time and requires significant planning. It’s helpful for divorcing couples to discuss this issue early on, if possible, to avoid further complications down the line.
Buyout or refinance
If both parties agree, one spouse might buy out the other’s share of the home or refinance their former partner’s interest in the home. In such cases, it’s helpful to consult a real estate agent for guidance about what type of loan might be best for such a transaction and how long the process might take.
Tip: Read about how marital property is divided in community property and equitable distribution states.
What Should You Do With Your Marital Home in Divorce? Explore Your Options.
FAQ about the marital home in Texas divorce
Could our marital home be considered separate property?
Probably not. Usually, a marital home is considered a marital asset subject to distribution because the home was used for the marriage. Even if the home was received by one spouse as a gift or inheritance – which would qualify some assets as separate property – it would likely be a candidate for marital property division because it was used for marital purposes.
What if my name isn’t on the deed of my Texas home?
If the home is considered a marital asset, it will be subject to distribution regardless of which spouse’s name is on the deed. In fact, even if you agree that one spouse should keep the home, they may still need to refinance or buy out their ex-partner’s interest to achieve this goal.
What if we decide to sell the house?
If you decide to sell the house, your settlement agreement would likely stipulate that both spouses share in the proceeds from the sale. Note that if a mortgage or other debt is associated with the home, this must be paid off with the proceeds of the sale first.
What if we both want to keep the house?
If you and your spouse are amicable, you might include in your divorce settlement the option to live in the home together in separate spaces. However, this may be confusing for young children, so it's not always the best idea.
Generally speaking, if one spouse has primary custody of minor children, they may be granted exclusive possession of the home until their youngest child reaches 18 years of age or graduates high school.
If you and your spouse are able to communicate with one another, you may be able to resolve your disputes without going to court. The experts at Hello Divorce are familiar with divorce state law and can help you find a mediator who meets your needs and can help you fairly divide up all of your marital assets, including your home.