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Texas handles property division using community property approach

Going through the dissolution of a marriage can be just as financially complicated as it is emotionally complex. This is true whether you had only a few years to accumulate assets or you built up wealth over the course of several decades.

The decisions you make regarding property division can have long-term consequences, so being informed about the process early on is critical. Here is a glimpse at how Texas law handles property division during divorce proceedings.

Community property in the Lone Star State

The law considers all of the possessions that you and your spouse acquired over the course of your marriage as marital property. As a result, you must divide this property when you get divorced. However, not all states handle property division in the same way.

Texas is one of only a handful of states that are community property states, which means that you must divide all marital income and property equally upon divorce. The court starts with the presumption that everything is marital property. If you believe you own property that should not be included and deemed separate property, you will need to address this with the court.

Items that are not community property

Under state law, you do not have to split separate property, which often includes property you or your spouse claimed or owned before you got married or during the marriage in some cases. Examples of separate property include the following:

  • Family heirlooms
  • Birthday gifts
  • Inheritances
  • Items bought before your marriage

A personal injury award also ordinarily falls under the category of separate property. However, if you comingled a separate asset with a marital one, the court could classify the separate asset as community property.

Your rights during property division in divorce

During divorce proceedings, you and your future ex-spouse may decide to try to resolve your property division issues through divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce. These alternatives to traditional divorce litigation can oftentimes be a lot less stressful than going to trial and allow you more options when it comes to dividing your property.

However, if you and the other party cannot find common ground about how to divide your property, you must allow a judge in Texas to make the final decisions for you. Whether you end up addressing property division outside of court or in court, it is within your rights to pursue the most personally favorable outcome given the circumstances surrounding your marital dissolution.

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