While most American states have adopted the equitable division model when distributing assets in a divorce, Texas remains a community property state. Unless you have already experienced a divorce, you may be one of the many residents with a poor understanding of what community property means. Learning about this part of your divorce is vital to ensuring that you walk away from your divorce with a fair share of the marital property.
In basic terms, community property means that you and your spouse own the property acquired during your marriage equally. At the same time, however, this does not always mean that you will get exactly half of your marital property. In some cases, what you may think of as marital property may be separate property in the eyes of the law. Below are several examples of separate property.
- Gifts–before and during the marriage–made to an individual spouse
- Inheritances–before and during the marriage–bequeathed to an individual spouse
- Property that you and your spouse designated as separate in a written document
- Property that an individual spouse purchases using his or her separate assets
Courts may also exclude some assets from property division if the spouse received the assets after Jan. 1 of the year in which a spouse files for divorce.
As you can see, property division in community property states can be especially complicated. The best way of protecting yourself and your assets involves seeking guidance from a legal advocate. This can ensure that your separate and individual property remain with you once your divorce is over. Having an effective working relationship with a caring family law attorney can also help you in other divorce matters.