Whenever a couple heads for a split, both sides are usually concerned about their property rights. Questions can range from things like, “Who gets to keep the furniture?” to “What happens to the retirement fund?” The more assets you have at stake, the bigger your concerns likely are.
Here’s what you should know if you’re getting divorced in Texas:
Texas is a community property state. That means that everything acquired after marriage by either spouse (with some exceptions) is generally deemed to belong equally to both parties. That means the money you socked away in your solo retirement count belongs to both you and your spouse, just like the home you bought together and the money that you have in your joint accounts.
That does not mean, however, that everything you own will automatically be divided in half. Texas courts aim to divide marital property in a way that’s fair to each party — and that may not be exactly “equal.”
What shifts the needle between “equal” and “fair” when the court has to decide how to split a couple’s assets? The judge may look at things like:
- Each spouse’s educational level, ability to work and employment prospects
- Each spouse’s separate property and income, including whether those assets and income are enough to live on
- Any valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreements between the two parties that speak to the division of property and debts
- Whether or not one of the spouses wasted the marital assets or committed some kind of fraud against the other
It’s wise not to assume that you and your spouse will have to split everything equally. An experienced family law attorney can help you work toward a fair division of assets.