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Understanding how community property laws work

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2018 | Divorce

No matter where a divorce occurs, the process is rarely simple. However, for those who live in Texas and other states with community property laws, divorce can prove a bit more complicated than spouses expect.

Community property laws require spouses to split all marital property equally, meaning that each spouse leaves the marriage with one-half of the value of the couple’s assets and liabilities. Other states that do not have community property laws allow spouses to reach an “equitable” property division agreement, where each party and the court agrees that the division of property is fair, but not necessarily equal.

If you face divorce in Texas, then you must take this issue seriously. Without reaching an equal property division agreement, courts typically will not finalize a divorce, which can prolong the process and add hefty legal fees to the pile of stresses that divorce brings with it. Make sure to protect your priorities and rights with a strong legal strategy that accounts for the specific laws of the Lone Star state.

What qualifies as marital property?

While there are some exceptions, marital property typically refers to any assets or liabilities that either spouse acquires after the marriage is official. This may include lines of credit, vehicles, homes and any other kind of property, as well as debts that either spouse may accrue. If your spouse, for instance, runs up a significant balance of credit card debt, you may have to assume some of that debt to reach an equal division agreement.

If you or your spouse owned some piece of property before your marriage, then the law generally considers this separate property, which you do not have to divide equally. However, if separate property gets mixed in, or commingles, with marital property, then it may transition to marital property you must divide. For instance, if you have a savings account from before your marriage and your spouse contributes to it, the whole account is probably considered marital property.

Protect yourself with a strong plan

A strong legal strategy that understands the specifics of Texas law is essential if you hope to protect your rights during divorce. Do not put off building your strategy, especially if you are already in the divorce process.

A full understanding of what you ought to protect and what you have to lose in divorce can clarify your priorities with a clear mind and keep you focused on the light at the end of the tunnel. After your divorce concludes, you can begin a new chapter of life with a clean slate.