Understanding Your Property Rights in a Divorce in Texas
You may know that Texas is a community property state, but you may be uncertain exactly what that means. This blog post provides an overview of the Texas community property laws, so that you can get a sense of what your rights are during a divorce.
The Basics of Community Property
Under the Texas laws, marital property is divided into two categories: separate property and community property. Separate property includes:
- All real and personal property owned before your marriage
- Any real or personal property obtained through gift or inheritance, regardless of when it was acquired
- All damage awards recovered for personal injury claims during the marriage, except for compensation for lost wages or income
- Any property exchanged for the above items
Community property is defined as all other property acquired during marriage. For purposes of the community property laws, it does not matter if only one spouse has possession of the property, or if only one spouse is named on the title or account. In addition, retirement funds accrued during marriage are community property, as is any sum paid for or asset received in exchange for personal services. Furthermore, it is presumed that an asset is community property unless you can show that it is separate property by clear and convincing evidence.
The Division of Community Property
Though in most situations, community property is divided equally, the law does not require an even distribution. Instead, the law states that community property shall be distributed in a "just and right " manner. The court can take many factors into consideration, including the differences in earnings of each spouse, the nature of the property involved, and whether or not one of the parties was at fault for the marital breakup (was there marital infidelity or some other just cause for divorce?)
Contact Our Office
At Pfister Borserine & Associates, we offer more than 20 years of experience to men and women throughout north Texas. Board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, attorney John Pfister has the knowledge, skill and resources to help you get the outcome you seek in a divorce. We will take the time to learn the details of your case, including your goals, so that we can put together the most effective strategy to meet your needs. Though we are always willing and able to protect your rights in court, we can also help you resolve your differences through alternative means, including negotiated settlements, mediation, and the collaborative approach to divorce.