If you are going through a divorce in Texas, one of the issues that you will need to discuss with your soon-to-be ex-spouse is regarding exactly how you will be dividing your property between the two of you. Before anything else, it is important for your to understand that there are two types of property.
One is subject to division in a divorce and the other is not. Separate property is property that one of you owned before the marriage began. Also, separate debt (debt that began before the marriage and has nothing to do with the couple) is only the responsibility of the one spouse. Another example of separate property is property that was inherited, which has nothing to do with you as a couple. Separate property does not get divided.
Which type of property will be divided in my divorce?
The other type of property, which is subject to division, is community property. It is important to remember here that not only will community property be divided but community debts will also be divided. Toward the end of the divorce process, the judge will divide your community property and debt by signing the final decree. This document will:
- List the community property that each spouse will retain. If a property cannot be divided easily, the judge will order you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to sell that property and split the money from the sale.
- List each of your separate properties (if applicable).
- List each of your debts.
- Order that the community property benefits for retirement of each spouse are either awarded (totally) to the spouse who earned the benefits or order that the spouses divide the retirement benefits between them.
Exactly what is considered community property and debt?
Community property is all property that you and your spouse own together at the time of your divorce. The only property that is not included is property that you can prove belonged to one of you at the time when you got married and thus will continue to be considered separate property. Some examples of community property are real estate (a house or land), cars, money, a business, retirement account(s), furniture and other items that you purchased together as a couple. The same concept applies to community debt. It is debt that you acquired together during the time that you were married.
Dividing community property in Texas
In Texas, all community property must be divided between the two spouses in the divorce “in a manner that the court deems just and right.” That means the property will be divided fairly, not necessarily in a 50/50 split. It is important that you protect your rights in such a situation. Having the proper legal support will help you to take the right steps to ensure that your interests are protected so that you can move on to a bright future.