Texas is a rare place for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is that it is one of only nine in the Union that is a community property jurisdiction.
This means that if you get a divorce, any property or possessions gained during the marriage are equally divided between both spouses.
What is and isn’t considered community property
All property gained during the marriage is considered community property unless it is proven to be separate.
Separate property is property a possession that was owned before the marriage or given as a gift during the marriage.
What could be considered community property?
- Homes and real estate
- Retirement plans
- Bank accounts
Separate property or possessions can include:
- Possessions or property purchased before marriage
- An inheritance
- Personal injury awards
In cases where the status of community property is not clear, a judge can look at the factors under which the property was acquired and how it was maintained.
For example, if one spouse came into the marriage with a house, it would be considered separate property at the time of the divorce. However, if the owner and the spouse took out a mortgage on the house, then it could be considered community property.
If one spouse inherited money during the marriage, it would be considered separate property. However, if that inheritance was deposited into a joint checking account and used by both spouses, it is community property.
Rather than adhere to a rigid 50-50 split, Texas judges can split property and possessions using the “fair and equitable” standard.
For example, if neither spouse can afford the mortgage on the family home, the judge can order it sold and the proceeds split between the spouses. The judge can also order one spouse to make a lump-sum payment to the other in lieu of that spouse’s interest in the house.
The breakup of a marriage is a difficult time and a qualified, experienced attorney can help you determine the best course of action considering your community property.