The divorce process can no doubt be complicated to navigate from both an emotional and a financial standpoint. This is true whether you have been married for a few years or several decades.
Because any financial decision you make while going through the divorce process in Texas can have long-term implications for you, it is critical that you understand the state's property distribution process. Here is a glimpse at how the Lone Star State handles property division during divorce.
Texas community property
Each item that both you and your spouse acquired during the course of your marriage is marital property. This means you must divide these items when you get divorced. However, not all states approach property division in the same way.
Texas follows community property law, making it similar to states such as California. However, unlike California, which divides property 50/50 -- in an equal manner --- Texas divides property in an equitable manner. In other words, judges divide property in what they consider to be a fair manner, according to several factors. In such situations, a property split might not be 50/50 if one spouse made more financial contributions to the household than the other one did, for instance.
Community property exclusions
Based on Texas law, it is not necessary for you and your future ex to split separate property during your divorce proceeding. Separate property is any property that you or the other party owned before marrying. Here are some separate property examples:
- Assets either of you bought prior to your marriage
- Birthday gifts
- Family heirlooms
Also, if you received a judicial award of monetary damages in a civil suit while you were not married, you do not have to split this property with your future ex. However, this compensation becomes community property that you must divide down the middle if you decide to purchase a shared asset with it.
Your rights during asset distribution
The ideal situation when dealing with property distribution in Texas is for you and your spouse to try to resolve this matter on your own outside of court. This may be possible through mediation or informal negotiations. If you cannot reach a mutually satisfactory resolution, a judge will divide your property for you. In either situation, it is within your rights to pursue the most personally favorable outcome possible given the circumstances of your divorce.