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The division of property in a divorce

Couples who are preparing to divorce often have questions regarding how they might expect their assets and obligations to be divided. As a community property state, Texas views all of the marital or community property of the couple to be jointly owned. The community property is thus in most cases subject to equal division between the two spouses.

Property division is not as simplistic as it might initially sound. It is actually quite complex. The first issue is determining what will be included in the marital estate and deemed to be community property in the first place. Generally, all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage will be considered to be community property and thus subject to division. There are exceptions to this, however.

If one spouse has received an inheritance, gift or personal injury award, that will remain the property of that spouse alone. This exclusion may be lost, however, if the spouse has deposited funds from these separate assets into a joint account for the benefit of both spouses. If that has occurred, the money may be considered to be community property and thus divisible. Property may also be excluded by such things as a valid prenuptial agreement. Even if one is in place, it may be subject to a challenge in the divorce.

The division of assets is often one of the more difficult parts of a divorce case. It is sometimes in a person's best interests to attempt to enter into an agreement with the other party, as how the property will be divided by a judge is not always easy to figure out. A family law attorney can assist a client in negotiating a settlement that will be approved by the court, making certain the assets are properly valued in order to ensure the client receives the appropriate share.

Source: Texas Young Lawyers Association, "Pro Se Divorce Handbook, accessed on Feb. 16, 2015

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