Once a couple in Texas decides to divorce, both spouses should consider how property division will affect their finances in their new lives as single individuals. The division of assets plays a key role in divorce negotiations.
FindLaw points out that Texas is a community property state, which means that no matter which spouse acquired an asset during the marriage, both spouses have equal ownership of it. For example, perhaps one spouse has a sizeable retirement account through his or her employer. The other spouse has just as much ownership of that account even though it is in the employee’s name.
Assets that spouses acquired before the marriage are treated differently. Real estate or personal property that someone owned before the wedding may be separate property. However, if the other spouse contributed to its improvement during the marriage or it increased in value, then all or a portion of it may become community property. If one spouse receives an inheritance and that asset is kept separate from the marital funds, then it may remain separate property.
One of the first steps in property division is inventorying assets. FindLaw notes that spouses will need to identify all assets, both marital and separate. In addition to bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, real estate, insurance policies and vehicles, spouses also need to list personal property and other items of value such as:
- Antiques, artwork and collections
- Jewelry and furs
- Furniture and other household items
- Boats and other watercraft, ATVs, snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles
Other “unconventional” assets may include credit card reward points, season tickets or luxury seating at sports arenas, and burial plots.