November 13, 2015 | Share
Understanding Texas’ Community Property Law
When going through a divorce in Collin County, one of the most important issues that will need to be resolved involves splitting up the property that you and your spouse shared while you were married. As part of your divorce, you will need to work with a Collin County divorce attorney to make sure that all of the property you and your spouse own is accounted for. At that point, your attorney will use the law to make sure you receive all of the property to which you are legally entitled.
Splitting up assets in a divorce requires a thorough understanding of the property rights spouses receive under Texas law. This starts with understanding the differences between “community” and “separate” property.
Community vs. Separate Property in Texas
Texas is among a dwindling number of states that still recognize the law of community property. In a community property state, all property acquired during the marriage (with only limited exceptions) is deemed to be owned equally by both spouses. This means that anything you or your spouse buys – including houses, cars, investments and jewelry – will be considered community property in your divorce. This is true regardless of title ownership, although Texas law does allow for partition of community property through a written and signed marital property agreement.
Any property not deemed community property under the law will be treated as separate property. Unlike community property, separate property does not get split in a divorce. As a result, determining which of your assets are community property and which are separate property is key to understanding your property rights at the end of your marriage.
Separate Property Not Subject to Division in a Divorce
Assets that constitute separate property under Texas law include:
• Property owned prior to the marriage
• Gifts and inheritances received by a single spouse
• Financial recoveries for personal injuries (excluding lost wages)
• Assets designated as separate property in a marital property agreement
In addition, spouses may agree that income derived from separate property (such as stock dividends or business income) will be treated as separate property. Like agreements for partition of community property, agreements concerning income from separate property must be signed and in writing under Texas law.
Division of Community Property in a Texas Divorce
Importantly, under Texas’s community property law, shared assets do not necessarily get divided equally. During your divorce, either you and your spouse (if you are able to work together) or the judge will consider a number of different factors in determining a “just and right” way to split your marital property. If necessary, this may involve selling certain assets in order to allow for an equitable division. Some other states’ community property laws require a 50-50 split, but this is not the case in Texas.
Nordhaus Walpole PLLC | Collin County Divorce Attorneys
If you are contemplating a divorce, or if your spouse is seeking to end your marriage, the attorneys at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC can help you protect your legal rights. To schedule a free initial consultation, please contact us today.
Categories: Family Law & Divorce