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Divorce and Real Estate in Texas

BY DFW PROFESSIONAL HOME BUYERS

BY DFW PROFESSIONAL HOME BUYERS

This article will cover selling real estate in Texas during or after a divorce, and will help you navigate this process.

Divorcing couple in Texas sit on couch
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Selling your marital home due to divorce can be challenging, stressful and emotionally-charged. However, when it comes to one of the most valuable assets in a marriage, both individuals should approach the prospect of selling their house seriously. We help homeowners sell their house fast while being discreet and sensitive throughout the selling process.

Couple in Texas argue over who keeps house after divorce
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Regarding the community property laws of Texas, any house purchased during the marriage belongs to both ex-spouses. The ex-spouses should come up with a rational agreement on how to split it.

 

However, the process can be daunting. When ex-spouses can’t agree on who keeps the house, the matter has to be resolved by a judge in a court via equitable distribution. Keep in mind, equitable distribution does not mean equal settlement.

 

When the court is splitting the property, it has to consider several factors to come up with a fair settlement. Some of the factors that come into play include:

  • Age– If your spouse is youthful while you are old and frail the court is obliged to let you have a larger share
  • Health– Spouses with medical complications are at an advantage as compared to their healthy counterpart
  • Household income– A working spouse is at a better advantage of getting a better settlement than a stay-at-home spouse
  • Financial status– Spouses with multi-million inheritances may give reasons for their partner to claim that they may not need the house settlement

Clearly, as you can see, the process of settling the matter in front of a judge is very complicated and you should  it if possible. Another issue that may complicate the process of splitting the house includes mortgage issues, which we will be addressed below.

What is Separate Property Versus Community Property in Texas?

Texas is a community property state. This means that any property acquired during the marriage is owned jointly by both spouses. The property in question has to be divided equitably during the divorce regardless of which spouse’s name is on the title. This may seem like a simple process but the story may not end there. These legal details might complicate the process.

For instance, separate property is exempt from community property laws. You might be wondering what is separate property. Separate property includes any property acquired:

 

  • Through gifts
  • Before the marriage
  • Through inheritance

In such scenarios, the property will belong to the spouse in question and is not subject to division.

Infographic describing the difference between separate property and community property in Texas
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Does a Divorce Decree Transfer Real Estate in Texas?

A pending divorce comes with high emotions and strained communication. The state of Texas provides legal requirements to transfer property (including real estate) in accordance with the spouse’s negotiated agreements.

 

However, the process may not proceed as smoothly as expected. In complex cases, the provisions in Texas community laws apply and they include:

  • Property acquired during the marriage is jointly owned by both spouses
  • Property acquired before marriage, or during the marriage. The property received as a gift or inheritance is considered to be separate property and it is not subject to division.
  • A divorced person seeking to sell formerly jointly-owned home must make sure that there is a complete transfer of title from their ex-spouse.
  • To avoid future insurance problems, the divorced person who ends up with the title should receive a full warranty deed from their ex-spouse.
  • If a partner hands over the title of a jointly-owned home under the condition that the other takes mortgage responsibilities, that spouse is owed money for their interest in the property. If this debt cannot be settled by the remaining assets the ex-spouse can agree to receive partial payments over time.

Can Divorce Invalidate a Signed Real Estate Contract in Texas?

Infographic created by real estate investors, DFW Professional Home Buyers that answers if divorce can invalidate a real estate contract in Texas
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Divorce can invalidate a signed real estate contract. Sometimes, the property’s title might only have one spouse’s name on it. However, if the property was purchased during the marriage, it counts as a jointly-owned property.

 

In such a scenario, any real estate contract signed without the consent or decree of the other spouse will be deemed null and void. However, certain circumstances such as mortgage loans may complicate real estate agreements.

 

If one of the ex-spouses wishes to remove their name from the mortgage, the process may take time. The bank has to evaluate the responsible spouse’s credit report to determine if they can qualify for a mortgage refinance.

How is Real Property Divided During a Divorce in Texas?

However, when most people are relating to real property, they usually have real estate in mind. The two words are used interchangeably.

 

The division of properties can be the most significant challenge in any divorce proceeding and should be handled with care. During these undertakings, a Texas court initiates the process of division of real property assuming it is all community property.

 

If you intend to keep some property, you have to convince the judge beyond a reasonable doubt that the property falls under a separate property category. The court uses an equitable distribution strategy to make sure each partner gets a fair settlement. 

 

In this kind of distribution, the court analyzes factors such as who was at fault for the divorce to happen, age, health, the disparity of wealth between the spouses, which spouse has custody of the children, and other factors.

 

Also, any commercial business real estate developed during the marriage is treated like other assets, and is a subject to valuation and division. This process gets complicated when it comes to the valuing of the goodwill.

Reimbursement Claims in Texas

Finally, there is a legal provision known as a reimbursement claim. In such cases, there exists a legal right of reimbursement where one of the marital estates may make a payment for the benefits of another. Some examples of marital estates include:

 

  • The community estate
  • The wife’s separate estates
  • Husband’s separate estates

According to the Texas Family Code, some of the claims documented under the list of reimbursement include:

 

  • Payment of unsecured liabilities such as credit card debts
  • Reduction of home mortgages for unsecured liabilities
  • Improvement of community property using separate funds

Remember, a Texas court may decline the reimbursement claim of an estate following:

 

  • Payment of child support
  • Living expense
  • Student loan payments
  • Payment of liability of nominal value

These are just some factors on the long list that come into play during a reimbursement claim in real property division.

What if a Property was Purchased During the Marriage with only One Spouse's Name on the Deed?

In Texas, the court is always under the presumption that any property purchased during a marriage is community property, and each spouse is entitled to half of the value. Therefore, a title under your name doesn’t always reflect real ownership. However, the judge will always look beyond the document to determine the fairest settlement under the equitable distribution scheme.

 

 

Judges consider the source of funds used to purchase the property, what the spouses did with the property during the marriage, and who it benefited the most. There are other instances like when a husband uses marital funds to buy a property in question or if they purchased a property but didn’t contribute to the mortgage payments. 

 

In such incidents, the other spouse may express interest in owning the property. In such a scenario, the court is obliged to make decisions accordingly.

How Do I Get my Name Off the Mortgage after the Divorce in Texas?

Your home is arguably your most valuable asset. When you are married, it is the obligation of both partners to finance their house mortgage loans. But, once you are divorced or separated, you may want to take your name of the mortgage as per the divorce decree. You have to follow certain steps to protect both the lender and yourself.

 

The steps include:

Apply for Mortgage Refinancing in Texas

While applying for a mortgage while married, the lender has two repayment sources—your ex-spouse and you. Regardless of whether your partner has allowed you to opt-out of the mortgage payment, the agreement should not affect the lender. 

 

This is why the first step is to contact your lender and apply for loan refinancing in your ex-spouse’s name. If you don’t follow this process correctly, a mortgage lender can still come after you for mortgage payments. On the other hand, the person responsible for the mortgage must prove to the lender they can continue to make payments.

 

The mortgage lenders evaluate their income, credit score, assets, and many factors that indicate whether the individual will qualify for a mortgage refinance. Sometimes, their financial status may not be sufficient enough to qualify for the mortgage loan.

 

In such scenarios, the concerned party has to make a larger down payment on the loan or look for someone else to cosign the loan for them.

File a Quitclaim Deed in Texas

If the refinance is complete and your name is removed from the mortgage, you should have your name removed from the property. You achieve this by having your ex-spouse file a quitclaim deed. In this deed, you relinquish all the rights you had on the property to your ex-spouse.

 

To finalize the quitclaim deed process in Texas, you have to sign the quitclaim deed in front of your loan officer. The loan officer will notarize the document, thus, removing your name from the mortgage and the deed. 

 

The quitclaim deed process is complete after your ex-spouse refinances the mortgage. The quitclaim process can also be done by signing the documents before your ex-spouse sells the property.

Get Help

The process of getting your name out of a mortgage loan can be stressful. To get the process right and to avoid more expenses, get legal help. A real estate attorney will help you fill out the paperwork and deal with the bank. Lawyers will help you to finalize the process fast while protecting your rights. If you don’t have an attorney, DFW Professional Home Buyers can connect you with lawyers that will help you.

How to Sell Real Estate Fast for Cash During a Divorce in Texas?

Getting a divorce is stressful. It gets even more complicated when real estate is involved. Sometimes during a divorce in Texas, you may be asked to sell your real estate. In this regard, we will examine the best ways to sell real estate for cash fast in Texas.

Seek the Services of a Texas Real Estate Agent

Using a real estate agent is an excellent way to sell a house. They access to the MLS and can reach many potential buyers within a short time frame. More importantly, they will speed up the process of drawing contracts, showcasing the house, and mitigate any real estate-related issues. The process helps to save money and time. If you are looking for an honest, talented and reputable Realtor, our very own Yashira Gruszynski will help you get started!

Go for a Company Buying Real Estate for Cash in Texas

By choosing a Texas cash home buyer like DFW Professional Home Buyers, you stand to sell your property fast and get a fair offer. The process of working with us takes less time—sometimes even less than 7 days! 

 

DFW Professional Home Buyers can help you with everything A-Z. We connect you with a reputable and local Title company. If you need flexibility, we are open to negotiating your moving date. We could also help you with a moving company that will help you with your belongings. You won’t have to worry about cleaning the house, or having multiple showings. If you happen to have clutter, or need repairs, you won’t have to worry about that either. 

 

 

Getting a divorce is stressful enough, selling your house and moving shouldn’t add to what you are going through.

Do a Short Sale

With a short sale, you agree with the lender to sell the property for less than what you owe. This means that a potential homebuyer will get the house for a price less than the mortgage. 

 

When a real estate agent or real estate investor does the process, it tends to move faster. Keep in mind that a short sale will harm your credit rating. However, a short sale is better than a foreclosure.

Bottom Line

The divorce process has significant effects on real estate. It is a complicated process that involves a lot of legal battles. That’s why you need to secure the services of a reputable Texas Real Estate Investor during these trying times. 

 

We will help you get a fair outcome so you can rebuild your life after divorce. Contact us for a confidential consultation!

Get Your Risk-Free Offer Now!

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