Texas uses community property standards to divide assets and debts when a couple divorces. If you live in the state and have separated from your spouse, familiarity with these laws can help you come to a fair agreement.
Review these Texas property division considerations before negotiating your divorce agreement.
Defining separate and community property
If you accrued debts, earned money, and used those funds and loans to buy property during your marriage, Texas categorizes all those items as community property. Even when you own property before the marriage, it becomes community property if your spouse contributes to its upkeep and thus its value (as in the case of real estate, for example).
You can establish separate property in a premarital agreement. If you receive a personal injury settlement, gift or inheritance during the marriage in your name only, that amount also becomes separate property.
Understanding equal distribution
You and your spouse can agree on a property division arrangement outside of court or follow the terms of a prenuptial agreement if you have one. You can also ask the Texas court to decide on your behalf. The state presumes equal division of community assets and debts, but the judge can adjust this premise based on the factors in your case.
Some of the factors that influence court-ordered property division include each person’s separate assets, the family’s child care arrangements, each person’s career and income, and each person’s education, age, and health status. If you and your spouse have significant assets together or own a business, professional valuation can help inform this process.