How community property laws can affect your divorce

| Oct 28, 2020 | Property Division |

Property division, as a result of your divorce, can adversely impact your financial situation. Texas Family Law codes determine marital property and provide guidance regarding the definition of separate property. This makes the way you present your contributions to the marriage and financial standing critical for your settlement. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the split, a judge may order the liquidation of all property in question.

According to the Texas State Law Library, Texas is a community property state. This can have a profound effect on property division during your divorce.

Determining community property

With a few exceptions, you and your spouse equally own property either of you acquires during your marriage. Joint property includes:

  • Real or personal property such as your home, furnishings, appliances, vehicles and luxury items acquired using the salary you earned during your marriage
  • Income received by both of you during your marriage
  • Most debts acquired during your marriage

Per Texas laws, you and your spouse own and owe everything equally, no matter who earns the income or incurred the debt. Pension plans, including IRAs and 401(k)s and profit from investments, are community property if obtained after your wedding.

Dividing property equitably

Although state laws require the equitable distribution of community property, it does not mean dividing the property equally. The court may determine an uneven distribution fits the circumstances, based on the unique details of your case. Exceptions to equitable division can have a dramatic effect on your settlement. Educational debts are among the few financial obligations considered separate, despite marital status. When liabilities and debts exceed the community assets, the court considers your and your spouse’s ability to pay the debt.

If divorce is on the horizon, you can take action by collecting documentation proving that some of your property is separate from marital property.