For many people in Texas and across the United States, the divorce process is often overwhelming and frustrating. In addition to determining child custody, alimony and parenting plans, spouses must divide the property they gathered during the marriage.
While some people are able to divide their property amicably through mediation, others rely on courtroom litigation to decide who will receive what in the final divorce decree.
What is community property?
Texas is one of the few states in the nation that follows a community property model of separating property in a divorce. This means that all community property, also known as marital property, is divided equally in half between spouses, according to Texas State statutes. Community property involves more than just the family car and home. It also includes the following, less commonly considered items:
- Expensive collections, such as art, antiques, wine, coins and classic cars
- Intellectual property, such as trademarks, patents and copyrights
- Gifts spouses gave to one another during the marriage
- Stocks, retirement accounts, 401k plans and term life insurance policies
- Income tax returns and lottery ticket winnings
- Memberships to exclusives golf courses and country clubs
If either spouse loaned money or property to a third-party, the courts can divide those items once they are repaid.
Is all property marital?
Not all property is marital. In fact, some people may keep property and assets in their entirety, even after the divorce is finalized. Separate property includes everything accumulated prior to the marriage. It also involves personal injury compensation funds, inheritance money and gifts given to either spouse by a third party.
Separate property can become marital property, however, if mixed with marital items and assets. For example, if one party owned a home prior to becoming married and changed the title of the loan to include both spouses’ names, the home may become marital property. At this point the home may get divided in the divorce settlement.