Texas is a community property state, meaning all marital property is divided equally in half between spouses. Marital property, sometimes referred to as community property, includes items, property and assets that are accumulated throughout the marriage. In addition to the family home and vehicles, other property, such as artwork, antiques, retirement plans, country club memberships, frequent flier miles, lottery winnings and term life insurance policies are also eligible for division in a divorce settlement.
Not all property, however, is considered marital and there may be some items that stay with the original owner, even after the divorce has been finalized. This is referred to as separate property, and may include the following:
Property that was owned prior to becoming married
Personal injury compensation
Gifts and money received from a third-party
Keep in mind that in order for property and items to stay ‘separate’, they must not be combined with any marital property. For instance, if you owned a home prior to becoming married and revised the title of the home to include your spouse’s name, that home could turn into marital property and be divided in the divorce settlement. Similarly, if you deposit inheritance money into a joint bank account shared with your spouse, that money loses its separate property status and can also be distributed between spouses.
Make sure to take the proper precautions to keep your personal property and money separate, and you may be able to retain that property through your divorce.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.