Now that you and your husband have decided to divorce, you will have to decide who gets what or let a judge decide for you. For example, what will happen with the business he started and ran while you were raising the children? What will happen to the vacation house on the lake? Everything that you acquired during your marriage will be subject to the marital property laws of Texas.
While most states follow the principles of equitable division, Texas is one of the few remaining states that still adhere to the rules of community property. This means that all property purchased and all income earned during the course of your marriage is subject to equal division when you divorce.
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may change this method of property division. An experienced attorney in the Arlington area can advise you through the divorce process. Read further for an overview of marital property laws in Texas.
Even though Texas follows community property principles, the court may not split your marital property perfectly in half when you and your husband divorce. The court will take into consideration the status of particular property at the moment you or your husband acquired it. This means that the court could decide a certain asset is separate from the marital property and belongs solely to your husband, or vice versa.
In general, the court considers all property that you purchased during your marriage to be community property. In order to prove that certain property is separate, compelling evidence must be shown by the party asserting sole ownership.
In Texas, separate property usually consists of anything you owned prior to your marriage. Unless it has become too hard to distinguish from community property, the title of anything you owned or claimed before you were married will revert back to you. Gifts and inheritances are also separate from marital property in the eyes of the court. For example, if your husband bought you a new car for your birthday three years ago, it will not be subject to the marital property division.
Other types of property the court considers separate include family heirlooms and personal injury awards not granted for medical expenses or lost wages.
If you are on the verge of divorce, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect your interests. Understanding how Texas divides marital assets will help you make the right decisions during the divorce process.