If you’re going through a divorce, your financial stability may depend on how the marital estate is divided between you and your spouse. In Texas, marital property is known as community property. Here are some basic things to understand about property division in Texas:
Identifying Community Property
Texas is a community property state, which means that most property acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses and is subject to division at divorce.
This means that everything you and your spouse own, from your house to any debt you acquired during the marriage, may be categorized as community property and divided.
Identifying Separate Property
While Texas law regards most of your property as community property, the law also recognizes separate property, which is owned by one spouse and does not have to be divided. Examples of separate property may include:
- Property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage
- Gifts or inheritance received by one spouse during the marriage
- Money awarded to one spouse as compensation in a personal injury lawsuit
If you intend to claim any property as separate, it is typically necessary to provide documentation showing that the property belongs to you alone.
Property Division Does Not Necessarily Mean a 50-50 Split
In Texas, the goal is to divide community property equally between the divorcing spouses. However, a 50-50 split is not a foregone conclusion.
Before agreeing to a property settlement, speak with a divorce attorney about the types of property involved. For example, the value of any business assets, retirement accounts and real estate must be carefully considered before a fair agreement can be reached.
In general, there may be opportunities for you and your attorney to negotiate with your spouse so that you can keep the things that are most important to you, and to ensure that you are financially stable after the divorce.
For more on these matters, please see the Law Office of Lori Watson’s property division overview.
Our divorce overview also provides helpful information.