You have worked hard to earn assets for yourself and your family, but now that you and your spouse are divorcing, you may worry that your hard work might have been in vain. If you have your heart set on keeping a particular asset or two, it may be helpful to understand how assets are typically divided in Texas divorces.
Texas is one of nine community property states. This means that when you and your spouse were married, you became one legal community. Because marriage made you part of a legal community, you and your spouse jointly own most of the assets acquired during your marriage.
Living in a community property state also means that in divorce, most of your assets will probably be divided evenly. However, some types of property are not community property at all, so they do not get divided in divorce.
What counts as separate property?
Community property includes almost all property acquired by one or both spouses during their marriage. Generally, courts assume all property is community property until a spouse proves that a certain item is separate property.
Texas law considers property as separate if it was:
- Owned by a spouse before marriage
- Gifted to one spouse during marriage
- Inherited by one spouse during marriage
- Awarded to one spouse for personal injuries
Are assets always divided evenly?
If you and your spouse agree to divide your community property in a certain way, a judge will usually support your agreement. However, if you and your spouse cannot agree, a court may decide how to divide your community property.
Often, a court will divide property equally. However, if a different division of assets is fair, a court may choose to divide assets unevenly. When making this decision, the court may consider each spouse’s age, each spouse’s level of education, the length of the marriage and any marital misconduct that occurred, among other factors.
Because so many details can affect the outcome of asset division, it can be difficult to predict what assets you may end up with after divorce. However, identifying a few assets that are important to you may help you and your divorce team select an appropriate strategy for your unique situation.