In Texas, most property acquired during the course of a marriage is considered community property, and will have to be divided during the divorce process.
The two main categories of property to be considered in a divorce are community property and separate property. Because Texas is a community property state, a large majority of the property involved in a divorce will likely be considered community property. Most, if not all of it, will be divided between the spouses. During the divorce process, it is very important for property to be correctly identified as community or separate.
Separate Property Vs. Community Property
Separate property is any property owned by a spouse prior to entering into a marriage. Community property is any property that a spouse acquires throughout the marriage. These are simple and clear definitions, but there are cases where certain types of property could cross over into either category.
Here are some examples of separate property:
- Property inherited by one spouse
- Property received as a gift by one spouse
- Compensation for personal injuries suffered by one spouse
Here are some examples of community property:
- Property purchased by one or both spouses
- Accumulated interest in pension, retirement, etc.
- Businesses/practices developed during a marriage
Dividing Community Property: “Just and Right”
Texas laws require that courts divide community property between spouses in a manner that is “just and right,” meaning that it should be an equitable division of property under the unique circumstances of each divorce.
Several factors may influence the court’s decision on what is equitable:
- Whether fault played a factor in the divorce
- The health and condition of each spouse
- Custody rights of each spouse
- Differences in the spouses’ wage-earning capacity
- The education and potential employability of each spouse
The most important factor on division of property in Texas is that the category of the property will largely determine your chances of keeping and protecting what is rightfully yours. When it comes to retirement funds, savings, and the businesses/practices that individual spouses have cultivated, it is vital to have these assets protected and rightfully categorized as separate property.
More questions about community property, separate property, and divorce in Texas? Hunt Law Firm’s divorce attorney in Katy has answers to your family law questions. Contact Hunt Law Firm, PLLC today!