Texas is one of only a few community property states. In theory, the state requires equal division of all property acquired during the marriage.
However, there are exceptions to the marital property rule, and separate property does not apply.
Separate property refers to assets owned by a spouse prior to the marriage. If you can provide clear evidence that you came into a marriage with a certain asset, including real estate and vehicles, the court will not subject that asset to division.
Marital property is anything acquired during the marriage. The court does not account for whose income provided the money to purchase the marital property.
Any residual property purchased during the marriage belongs to both. The court will allow spouses to come to an agreement on their own about the division of such assets. However, when they cannot agree, they must abide by the court’s decision.
For example, if one spouse wants to keep the home, they have the option to buy out the other spouse. If neither can afford to buy out the other, they often sell the property and split the payout.
Distinguishing separate and marital property is not always simple. Sometimes the comingling of separate assets with marital assets makes it difficult to categorize. If the court is unable to trace the history of an asset, the community property rule applies.
Ultimately, the division of assets is always more complex when a long-term marriage with many assets comes to an end. When couples can agree on everything, it expedites the process.