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Divorce In Texas: What You Need To Know To Protect Your Rights

Texas is one of several states that uses the rules of community property to determine the split of assets and debts in the event of a divorce. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you get your fair share.

What Is Community Property?

The community property rule splits all assets and debts in half. So, what counts as community property? Here are some general categories:

  • All property bought with money earned while married, i.e., a car, boat, refrigerator and house
  • All wages and other income that was earned during the marriage
  • All debts that while married, such as student loans
  • Investments contributed to during the marriage, such as 401ks

These categories of property are owned equally, even if one spouse earned all of the income.

Is There Separate Property In A Marriage?

Even though community property designation is the rule, there are a few things that are kept separate in this arrangement. They include:

  • Property inherited or gifted to one member of the couple, as long as it stays out of a joint account
  • Pre-marriage debts
  • Property owned before the marriage
  • Property received after a legal separation

Remember, the separateness of these assets only applies if the spouse’s name was not put on, for example, a deed or added to an account ownership.

How Do I Make Sure The Division Is Fair?

Since the division and distribution of all assets and liabilities can be complex as well as contentious, make sure to gather documents that support your case such as bank statements, investment records, receipts and deeds. This will help establish the origin and ownership of assets and debts. Consult with professional counsel to ensure that your ex-spouse’s legal defense doesn’t characterize joint property as solely belonging to his client.

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