Property division can be one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce proceeding. People have a lot of misconceptions about the types of assets that are subject to division. It’s important to understand the basics of property division law to be better prepared with what to expect. Doing so will leave you in a better position to assert and protect your interests.
Community property or separate property?
Texas is one of a few states that follows the rule of community property. In a nutshell, community property is the property acquired over the course of the marriage and is subject to division. Property that was acquired before the marriage is considered separate and is usually not subject to division.
Some typical examples of community property include:
- Money earned by either spouse over the course of a marriage
- Assets purchased by either spouse over the course of a marriage
- A family home that is in both party’s names
Some typical examples of separate property include:
- Property given as a gift to one spouse
- Property inherited by one spouse
- Vehicles bought by one spouse before the marriage
Of course, defining types of property is rarely so simple. The mixing of separate property and community property can turn the entire thing into community property. For example, you have $25,000 in a bank account. When you marry, both you and your spouse continue to add income into this account. The comingling of your income has likely turned that $25,000 into community property.
Community property will be equitably distributed
All community property assets are subject to equitable division. You should keep in mind that “equitable” does not mean the same thing as “equal.” One party may receive a large percentage of community property. You should always discuss your situation with a skilled legal professional. Together, you can determine your options and protect your property interests.