There is a lot at stake during divorce. Your property, your home, your assets and belongings could all be taken from you and granted to your soon-to-be former spouse. The division of property is a complicated subject, but by educating yourself on the basics, you can enter the courtroom with confidence.
A divorce attorney is invaluable when you are in the midst of a divorce; especially if you are high income or have a considerable number of assets. They will know how to defend your interests and assist you in receiving your due.
The distinction of community and separate property
In Texas, everything that you and your spouse have acquired during your marriage is considered “community property”. Who specifically made the purchase and who the two of you considered the “owner” is irrelevant in most situations – even wages you personally earned fall into this category. All community property will need to be accounted for and awarded to you or your spouse before your divorce can be finalized.
By contrast, “separate property” is what you came into the marriage with. A car you purchased before your wedding or a family heirloom you’ve owned your whole life may be examples. In addition to what you brought into the marriage, the following are also often exceptions to community property:
- Anything you acquired from an inheritance
- Property that you acquired as a gift
- Assets you received from injury claims
It is critical to fully understand the distinction between these two types of property because it will determine was is definitively yours and what must be argued for.
Like many states, Texas does not require that community property be split evenly between you and your spouse. Rather than an even 50/50 split, the court is only required to split property “fairly”. What the court considers a fair split is influenced by several factors which include, but are not limited to:
- Who is at fault for the marriage becoming unsuccessful
- Who receives more income, or has the potential to receive more income
- Who will be the caretaker of your children
- The relative sizes of the community assets and the separate assets
- What factor inheritance will eventually play in each party’s finances
If this short list of factors sends up red flags that you may be at risk of losing your most valued assets, consider speaking to a professional to help you defend your interests.
Nobody wants to be left out in the cold when their divorce is finalized. Stay educated on what to expect in the time leading up to your divorce and come to the court room ready to retain what is rightfully yours.