Dividing assets is one of the most complex aspects of divorce, both emotionally and logistically. From personal property to savings and investments, state law determines how to distribute shared assets if spouses cannot come to an agreement on their own.
Texas is a community property state. This means that, during divorce, the court distinguishes between community property that both spouses own equally and separate property that remains the sole possession of one spouse.
1. What is community property?
Nearly all assets acquired during marriage automatically become community property. These shared assets are subject to fair division by the court upon divorce. In addition to real estate, vehicles and other tangible items, divisible community property may include earnings, investments, retirement benefits and savings, regardless of whose name is on the account.
2. What is separate property?
Some types of assets remain the sole property of one spouse and are not subject to division under community property law. These include gifts and inheritances that only one spouse receives as well as assets that either spouse owned before the marriage.
However, if a spouse mingles his or her separate property with shared spousal assets, it may become community property subject to fair division.
3. Do the courts divide community property 50/50?
A judge may or may not divide marital property equally. Rather, the court attempts to distribute assets in a way that is fair to both spouses and provides support for children.
Factors that may affect the court’s decision include the length of the marriage, the earning capacity and education level of each party and what types of contributions, both economic and non-economic, that each spouse made to the marriage and to the family.