Divorce comes with a lot of big financial concerns. What will happen to your house? Will ending your marriage affect your retirement plans? What about your furniture and vehicles?
Some even delay filing for divorce because of the risk of losing their property or retirement. What will the Texas family courts divide if you file for a divorce without being in agreement with your spouse on the terms of your divorce?
Anything that counts as community property is vulnerable in Texas
When you get married, under Texas law, all property, assets and income acquired after marriage are community property, absent a premarital agreement that provides otherwise, or one of the assets meeting the burden of being labeled separate property. Assets can include benefits that either spouse receives from employment or (pension and retirement benefits), income earned not only from a job but also through investments or businesses, real property, vehicles, furnishings, art work and collections ,etc. In short, anything you acquire during marriage or with marital income is possibly at risk of division in a Texas divorce.
The only assets that can be protected from division in a divorce are items that can be proven to be separate property, i.e. items owned and/or earned before marriage may remain separate property in a divorce as long as they were kept separate or are traceable if commingled with marital assets. The same is true of any inheritance that received or gifts given to a spouse during marriage.
How can you protect certain property?
The best way to keep separate assets separate in a divorce is to have a premarital agreement that is very specific about the assets and debts owned at the time of marriage and how those assets, as well as anything acquired or earned after marriage, will be handled in the event of divorce. It is a very good idea to keep financial records that reflect when and how assets were acquired or started as well as their value at the time of marriage. If proven with clear evidence, the courts will set aside assets and/or debts as separate property.
Learning the details of how the Texas Family Code allows courts to divide property when you divorce can help you plan your finances both during and after a divorce.