Tampa, FL asked in Divorce and Family Law for Texas

Q: My partner and I have separated after 15 yrs and I need to know my rights and options as far as dividing our asset

I found out my partner was cheating and we have since separated. We were buying a home and have other accumulated assets. I want to sell the house but she wants to keep the house for herself. we reside in Houston TX

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1 Lawyer Answer

Brett Christiansen

Answered
  • Galveston, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: The answer to this question really depends on the legal status of your relationship with your partner of 15 years. You use the term "partner". Were you married? Did you have any other type of status on your relationship? That will dictate how the property can be handled. That status will also dictate the characterization of the property which can also affect how the asset is to be divided. You may meet the requirements of an Informal Marriage in TEXAS which are found in Texas Family Code Section 2.401. There are three elements of an informal ("Common Law") marriage in Texas and you must have all three parts(at the same time) in order to have an informal marriage in Texas. You and your partner must have (1) AGREED to be married (2) LIVED TOGETHER in TEXAS as a married couple AND (3) REPRESENTED TO OTHERS that you were married. If you can prove an informal marriage, that puts potentially a lot of other assets into play for division. But, If the house was a COMMUNITY PROPERTY asset (i.e. acquired AFTER marriage) the Court could divide the asset for you and in the event that one could not afford to buy the other out of their interest, they would likely order the house sold, mortgage paid and remaining proceeds split just and right. But, you can never tell exactly what a court will do.

If your interest in the house is a separate property (generally meaning exiting before the marriage) or an individual, personal interest (i.e. no marriage here) you could bring a partition suit for the house and generally in those cases the Court will have the house sold and profits split.

This can be complicated and absent an agreement, you should likely seek counsel to assist you in navigating a path.

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