The end of a marriage brings heartache and sadness on an emotional level. In addition, a host of economic conflicts arise between the parties when it comes time to decide how to divide the marital assets. Luckily, Texas law follows a methodical process that can help you to know what to expect when it comes time to finalizing the divorce decree.
Texas is a community property state
Different states follow different rules when it comes to deciding which property should go to which spouse in a divorce. Texas is a community property state, which means that all property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered part of the community estate and subject to division. A court will divide the community estate in a just and right manner.
Determining which property counts as separate property
At the time of divorce, all property owned by the spouses is presumed to be part of the community estate but if a spouse can prove certain property is separate property it is not subject to division. Separate property consists of property that was owned prior to the marriage, property that was gifted to one spouse during the marriage, and property that was inherited by one spouse during the he marriage. The court does not have the right to divest a person of their separate property.
Don’t try to get around this division by gifting property to your friends
Often, when a divorce is imminent, people will try to hide their assets from the court by gifting them to their siblings or friends. The intent behind this scheme is to move the property out of the reach of the court, in order to protect it from being given to the opposing spouse, until the divorce is finalized.
When it comes time to inventory your assets, it’s best to be open and honest about the extent of your property. The best way to prepare for property distribution for your divorce in Texas is to decide with your attorney the extent of your marital assets, and consider what you want after the community estate is divided. This approach should help things go smoothly when it comes time to finalize the division of assets.