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What’s the difference between community and equitable property?

You share almost everything when you’re married. Therefore, when you are about to get divorced, it can come as no surprise that you might not know which of the items you acquired during your marriage you or your spouse will get. Who is going to live in the house you bought, who gets the vacation cabin you inherited from your grandparents, and who keeps the minivan? Property division can be confusing for Texas residents.

As FindLaw explains, most states in the U.S. are equitable distribution states. A judge will consider numerous factors, like the earning potential each spouse receives and whether one spouse will continue to stay at home after the divorce to raise the children, when dividing assets. However, you don’t live in an equitable distribution state. Texas is one of the nine states that are considered community property states. This means you and your spouse equally own the assets, income and debt you acquired during the marriage, regardless of who purchased the property, who earned more or who was employed.

Therefore, in a community property state, the following can apply:

  • If you bought your home before you were married, the home remains yours, unless you put your spouse’s name on the title.
  • The vacation cabin and other inheritances from your side of the family will go to you.
  • Marital property, such as vehicles, savings funds, furniture and credit card debt, will be divided equally.

The potential for misunderstandings exists when it comes to dividing marital property during your divorce. Therefore, this information is meant to serve an educational purpose and not as legal advice.

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