When a married couple in Texas divorces, the law presumes that all property accumulated during the marriage is community property, which means it is owned jointly by both parties and should be divided equally between them. But all property may not belong to the community. One party may claim some assets as their own separate property. The law requires them to prove an asset is their own separate property by clear and convincing evidence.
Assets Considered Community Property
Assets that were accumulated during the marriage that are considered community property according to law are:
- Wages earned by either party.
- Employer retirement benefit plans, including 401k plans.
- Value of a mutually owned business.
- Value of a private professional practice even if only one party is named as the professional
- All real estate purchased during the marriage.
- All real estate acquired with community property funds even if only one party is on the deed as the owner.
- Home goods including family furnishings and even the family pet.
A value is placed on each item and it is to be divided equally between the parties.
Assets Considered Separate Property
Separate property is property owned solely by one party. This includes:
- Real estate owned by one party prior to the marriage and never co-mingled with community property. If community funds were used to maintain or remodel the real estate, there must be an evaluation to determine how much of the value is private and how much separate.
- Gifts received by one party remain that person’s separate property. This includes the value of jewelry and other gifts given by one party to the other during the marriage.
- Inheritance received by one party.
- A personal injury received by one party except for the portion of the award that is for lost wages, since wages are community property.
Parties Encouraged to Come to Their Own Agreement About Property Division
Texas law encourages the parties to come to their own agreement about property division. Texas law also allows a court to order division of assets in a manner “that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.”
For more information on the divorce process in general or asset division in particular contact one of our family law attorneys at Springer & Lyle to schedule a consultation. You can reach us online or by calling 940.387.0404.