Dividing Jointly-Owned Property After Divorce – There are times where divorcing spouses can have a quick breakup and go their separate ways. But this is not a realistic expectation for everyone. For example, custody battles and visitation schedules can loom large if the marriage involved children. Even if there are no children involved, often there are other complicated loose ends to tie up.
This is also true for community property. Depending on the circumstances, former spouses can remain – or become – joint owners of a property after a final divorce decree has been rendered. If they choose not to remain cotenants, it is up to both parties to file what is called a postdissolution suit to partition community property. This article will discuss what that means, while briefly describing the two methods used in this process.
How Did This Happen, Anyway?
We’ve learned so much already about dividing and confirming marital property that it seems like any disputes or cotenant situations would naturally be cleared up prior to the divorce being made final. This is not the case. Per the Texas Family Code, former spouses can become cotenants or joint owners of property in a variety of ways:
- By operation of law – In other words, the divorce decree did not divide or take into consideration certain property. If this happens, the undivided property automatically becomes the spouses’ jointly-owned, undivided separate property.
- By explicit order or agreement – A court can award joint ownership of the property to the spouses in the divorce decree. This is often the case with the marital home.
Partitioning The Property
Former spouses can, however, dissolve their cotenancy (joint-ownership) relationship after divorce. This can be done through a mutual agreement between the spouses, or by asking the court to partition the property in a just and right manner. In Texas, there are two judicial methods to partition property: Partition Suit brought under the Family Code, and Partition Suit brought under the Property Code.
Both are different in terms of the rules they follow. Here’s a brief explanation of each:
*Under the Family Code, a court can partition “only property that was not disposed of by a court in a final dissolution decree, and the property must be partitioned in a just and right manner.”
*Under the Property Code, “any jointly-owned property can be partitioned, but generally the property must be partitioned equally.”
Stay tuned to our next blog as we will dive into each one a bit more.
If you or anyone you know are going through a divorce, contact Nelson Law Group, PC. Every divorce case is different, and requires a keen legal eye to decipher what is just and right for each party involved. We are always accessible, and we truly love hearing from our clients. Dividing Jointly-Owned Property After Divorce.