Understanding the differences between community and separate property may make the divorce process easier for some couples.
One of the most difficult topics to deal with in a Texas divorce case is that of property division. After years or even decades of marriage, the thought of distributing all of the property and assets that were accumulated throughout the marriage may seem overwhelming. Texas is a community property state, meaning that in most cases, all marital property is divided equally in half between spouses. However, not all property and assets are considered community property. When people understand the differences between marital and separate property, they can increase the likelihood that they will get everything they deserve in the divorce settlement.
When people think of marital or community property, they may think of the family home, vehicles, furniture and bank account funds. Marital property, however, encompasses everything that the couple has amassed during their marriage. According to Forbes, it isn’t uncommon for couples to overlook certain marital funds, such as insurance policies, 401k plans, pensions, stock and other investments. Non-traditional items, such as expensive antique collections, art, wine, coins, horses or classic cars are also considered marital if they were acquired while the couple was married. Even elite golf course memberships, cemetery plots and funds derived from trademarks, copyrights and patents may be divided in a divorce settlement. Gifts that spouses gave to one another during the marriage may be considered community property as well.
Certain property and/or assets that a person receives prior to and during the marriage may remain solely with the original owner. For example, a person who receives inheritance money before or during a marriage and keeps that money separate from marital funds, may be exempt from having to split those funds in the divorce settlement. According to Texas statutes, separate property may also include the following:
- Money received from personal injuries
- Property owned prior to the marriage
- Money acquired from separate property, such as equity or interest earned
- Third-party gifts given to either spouse before or during the marriage
When the other spouse is added to a property title, or the separate funds are deposited into a joint bank account with other spouse, the items may become marital, and therefore, eligible for division.
Receive what is rightfully yours
Going through the divorce process can be emotionally and financially trying. Many people may find that the process of creating a fair and just divorce settlement can be extremely difficult and overwhelming. Whether you are thinking of filing for divorce, or you have been facing a court battle and need additional legal assistance, you may want to speak to a family attorney who understands how divorce works in Texas.