Texas is a Community Property State
Division of Community Property in a Divorce
In Texas, when a couple gets a divorce, it is presumed that all property possessed by either spouse during or upon dissolution of the marriage is community property. It requires clear and convincing evidence to establish that property is separate property. The law says that community property should be divided when you get divorced in way that is “just and right.” That is not always equal or 50/50. In fact when there is Family Violence, infidelity, or other marital misconduct, often the division of community property is not equal.
Division of Debt in a Divorce
It is also presumed that all debt possessed by either party at the dissolution of the marriage is community debt. However, a debt which arises before marriage should generally be treated as the incurring spouse’s separate debt and not assigned to the other spouse. The law says that community debt should also be divided when you get divorced in way that is “just and right.” For certain types of debts, Texas law does provide some exceptions where a spouse may not be held liable for a partners debt. Because of this, any debt that is incurred during the course of a marriage should be reviewed during the divorce process.
What is Separate Property and Not Considered Community Property?
Separate property, acquired by either spouse prior to or during marriage, is not considered to be community property. Separate property may include:
- Family heirlooms
- Birthday gifts
- Property and items purchased prior to the marriage
- Property acquired in exchange for separate property, proceeds from the sale of separate property, or property that can be traced to separate property
- Settlement awards for Personal Injury (unless it is recovery for lost wages, medical bills, or other types of property that could be considered community property)
When it comes down to figuring out who gets what and who pays for what, tension often rises among divorcing spouses because the legal characterization of property is quite complex. For that reason, when there are property or other financial interests involved in a divorce, it is important to have an attorney there to explain and protect your rights.
Do you have questions about the division of assets and debt in your Texas Divorce? Call Plano, TX attorney R. Jeffrey Burgfechtel to help protect your financial well-being.