While Texas grants many freedoms to its residents, some divorcing people here feel restricted when it comes to the division of property. That’s because Texas is one of a few states in the nation that operate under community property laws in divorce.
If you and your soon-to-be former spouse are on good terms and you are looking forward to a swift, down-the-middle settlement, then you chose a great state in which to live and file for divorce: Generally speaking, your marital property will likely be split 50/50 in divorce. If you are not happy with this notion of asset division, you may need detailed advice and a good legal strategy.
What constitutes marital property?
Before you can decide if you’re happy or worried about community property laws, you should gain a clear understanding of how the court defines marital property. Here are some basics on the topic:
- If you signed a prenuptial agreement before your wedding day, it may be a game-changer as you enter divorce proceedings. Any asset you and your intended spouse agreed to retain in separate ownership will not be subject to division when the court issues a final ruling in your divorce.
- Any property or asset you acquired during marriage is up for grabs. That goes for any income, property or asset your spouse acquired in marriage as well. Community property doesn’t necessarily mean the court divides all your marital property in half, only that it will divide the value of all assets equally.
- The court considers all your assets marital property unless you (or your spouse) show evidence of separate ownership.
- Beyond any asset you stipulated as separately owned in a prenuptial contract, if you receive a gift during marriage, such as an inheritance or court-awarded compensation in a legal action, the court may consider it non-marital property in a divorce.
Resolving your divorce case
Hopefully, you can quickly and amicably resolve any problems that arise between you and your spouse concerning marital property laws. As long as you’re aware of your rights and you understand state laws, you are headed in the right direction.
To avoid confusion and discord in court, many people turn to experienced family law attorneys for support.