You and your spouse have spent years building a life together, but things are just not working out. Despite your best efforts, you’re drifting apart. Maybe there are other problems driving a wedge between the two of you. Whatever the case, divorce is now a certainty, and you’ve got a lot of questions. One that you’ll definitely need to answer is how property is divided in a Texas divorce. Thankfully, it’s not that complicated.
Texas is what’s called a community property state. That means anything you and your spouse have purchased together, or come into ownership of during the marriage, is community property. You both own it. This includes things like your home, your cars, the RV in your driveway, the cash in your bank accounts, your retirement accounts, and more. However, there is a chance that at least some of the property in question does not belong to both of you, but to one spouse or the other. This is called separate property.
Separate property is a term applied to anything that you or your spouse brought into the marriage that you owned prior to tying the knot. It can also apply to anything that the two of you are able to agree on before going to court that was purchased or came into your lives during the marriage, so long as you both agree. Separate property can also apply to an inheritance that came to one spouse during the marriage or money received by one spouse due to personal injury during the marriage. Note that unless you and your spouse agree here, you’ll need to prove that whatever is in question is actually separate property. The court will require “clear and convincing” evidence.
In the simplest terms, each of you will keep any separate property you brought into the marriage, or acquired during the marriage (as long as you can prove that it is yours, or the two of you can agree on this). For community property, everything is divided, with the court seeking a division that is “just and right”. Note that this does not always mean that your property will be divided 50/50. It is ultimately up to the judge, and he or she will base that decision on things like:
- Who has the most investment in the property
- Which parent will be financially better off after the divorce
- Is there a child in question that will be impacted?
Property division in a divorce can be simple, but contestation can throw a wrench in the works.