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Property division in Texas requires careful consideration

Divorce laws differ from state to state, and it is not likely that couples would include considerations about the divorce laws of their state in their marriage plans. However, gaining relevant knowledge may prove to be beneficial in the event of a divorce in the future. Texas is a community property state, and the manner in which property is classified and managed as either marital or separate during the marriage will rule the property division process.

There are requirements to be met even before the divorce process can be started. According to the residency requirements in Texas, one spouse must have been residing in Texas for at least six months, and at least for 90 days in the county in which the divorce will be filed. There is a 60-day waiting period after filing a divorce petition -- even a no-contest divorce cannot be finalized sooner than that.

Under Texas law, spouses are equal owners of all assets acquired after the date of the marriage. For property to be regarded as separate, it must have been obtained before the date of marriage or after the separation date. Assets designated as separate property in a legally drafted prenuptial or postnuptial agreement will also remain separate, along with inheritances and payment from civil lawsuits -- as long as the funds were not commingled. Any gifts received by one spouse from a third party will also be separate property.

Marital property will be split equally, and divorcing spouses may want to negotiate how they want this property division to take place. This can be a complicated process, especially for a spouse who is not familiar with the financial and tax consequences. The skills of an experienced divorce attorney with a full knowledge of Texas divorce laws may be invaluable to ensure a client's best interests are protected during all proceedings.

Source: forbes.com, "50 Ways To End Your Marriage: Divorce Laws Vary Widely From State To State", Jeff Landers, May 24, 2016

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