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What constitutes community property in Texas?

During a divorce, the court will determine who gets what marital property if the couple cannot determine how to split it up themselves. Texas is a community property state, which means that if the judge splits the property, it will be done as close to 50/50 as possible.

Community property is another name for marital property. This can include such items as family homes, vacation homes, automobiles, furniture, artwork, stocks, bonds and retirement accounts. Debt is also included. The courts consider many factors in how community property is divided and this can have a profound effect on what a spouse will have to start his or her non-married life with. Some of these factors include:

-- Whether there are any fault grounds for the divorce, such as cruelty or adultery.

-- Each spouse's earning capacity.

-- Which parent is the children's legal caretaker?

If there is no prenuptial agreement in place, then state law will determine how property will take place. Separate property includes that which was owned before the couple married, inheritances left to one spouse, separate bank accounts, gifts to either spouse, proceeds from personal injury lawsuit and property that either spouse obtained after separation.

Some of the other factors a judge might consider when dividing community property include:

-- Age difference

-- Overall health

-- The size of the estate

-- Any inheritances the spouses anticipate receiving

-- Gifts a spouse receives

An attorney with experience in divorce can provide you with additional information on community and separate property. He or she can work to see that you get what you deserve during the divorce.

Source: FindLaw, "Community Property Overview," accessed Jan. 12, 2016

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