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Community property law applies in Texas

After much deliberation, you are finally parting ways your spouse, and the freedom you feel could not be more refreshing. At the same time, you worry about who will end up with various assets.

The state of Texas is a community property state, which means that it approaches property division differently from most other states during a divorce proceeding. Here is a look at what you and your future ex can expect when it comes to dividing your property in the Lone Star State.

Property division in Texas

In a community property state like Texas, the court often divides all marital assets 50/50. These assets may include any real estate property you share, your shared motor vehicles, and the money you have in a joint bank account -- basically, the court considers any assets acquired during the marriage as joint property. It is up to you to prove otherwise.

On the other hand, most other states in the nation are equitable distribution states. In these states, a judge divides marital assets in a manner that he or she considers to be fair, or equitable. In these situations, a property division split might not necessarily be 50/50. For instance, if one spouse played a larger role in the accumulation of financial assets, more of the shared assets may go to him or her.

Can you keep certain assets for yourself?

Yes, if it is a separate asset. Separate property constitutes any asset that you owned individually before getting married. In addition, if you receive an inheritance, this generally does not have to be divided during a divorce proceeding.

However, if you mix your separate property with your marital property, the separate property, or a portion thereof, could turn into marital property, and thus subject to property division. For instance, perhaps you placed your inheritance money in your and your future ex's joint checking account. The divorce court could require you to give up half of it to the other party.

How can you protect yourself during property division?

The best scenario when it comes to property division is for you and the other party to determine how you both would like to split your assets. You can use an alternative dispute resolution process, such as mediation, to put together an agreement that meets both of your needs.

Of course, not all property division disputes can be resolved outside of court. In this situation, you must depend on a judge to make your asset distribution decisions for you. However, an attorney can help you in either situation to pursue the best results for you in light of the circumstances.

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