One of the contentious parts of divorce is the dividing of property. Each state outlines how a judge will divide property, which may make the process easier.
One thing to understand is the difference between separate and community property and how this affects the division of assets.
Separate vs. community property
According to FindLaw, separate property generally refers to assets acquired outside of the marriage, while community, or marital, property refers to things purchased during the marriage. Some examples of separate property include:
- Assets acquired by one spouse before entering into the marriage
- Assets and debts named as separate property in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
- Inheritances or gifts given to one spouse during or before the marriage
- Assets acquired during the marriage by one spouse and not used or owned by the other spouse (except in community property states)
- Personal injury awards (except in community property states)
All other assets acquired by the couple during the marriage are marital property.
Property division in Texas
According to the Texas government family code, Texas is a community property state. This means that property acquired and owned separately during the marriage as well as personal injury awards are marital property. Only property acquired in a different state that classifies as separate property is exempt.
The court divides community property in a just and fair way to each spouse and to shared children. In regard to income, the court will regard it as separate property if the spouses submit a written agreement.
In regard to insurance benefits, the judge will divide the rights based on the policy terms. Regarding retirement accounts, pension plans, stock options or employee benefits, the judge will determine the rights of each spouse and divide accordingly.