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What you need to know about community property

| Jul 16, 2021 | High Asset Divorce |

Now that you have decided to get divorced, it is time for you to think about how things will change. One of the most important characteristics of a divorce is property division. The court will divide everything you acquired during your marriage between you and your spouse, including assets you will be surprised about.

Separate vs. community property

Texas is a community property state, which means that the property and assets acquired during the marriage legally belong to both spouses, no matter who paid for them. When you file for divorce, the court will split the marital estate evenly between you and your ex. However, that does not mean that you’ll have to divide everything you own. Some things you’ll be able to keep. The court will consider as separate property everything you:

  • Acquired before the marriage
  • Got as a gift or inheritance from a third party
  • Got as a recovery for personal injuries

To determine whether a property is separate, you will need to present to the court clear and concise evidence that proves that you bought it before the marriage. You also need to prove you didn’t use any community property funds for maintenance of your separate property.

Community property

What the state considers community property can be surprising. The following is a list of things that will be divided during the divorce:

  • Income, salaries and wages
  • Insurance plans
  • Retirement plans and other employee benefits
  • Debts
  • Bank accounts and stocks
  • Mortgages and loans
  • Gifts from your spouse
  • Real estate and motor vehicles
  • Worker’s compensation payments and disability insurance payments

You must remember that all those assets and debts had to be acquired during the marriage to be community property.

Reimbursement

Your ex could ask you for reimbursement if you used money earned during the marriage to improve a separate property of yours. For example, if you bought a house before the marriage and then used both of your money to pay the mortgage after getting married.

Good record keeping

Ultimately, whether you keep property separate or not will come down to good and organized record keeping. There are exceptions to the general rules about property division, so it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced divorce attorney. They will be able to help you determine whether you can keep some property separate.