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What is community property in a Texas divorce?

Two of the most commonly contested issues in a divorce are those pertaining to money and the children. When it comes to financial stability, the decisions you make and the agreements you reach will have a long-term impact on both your immediate and long-term post-divorce futures.

Texas is a community property state, which means that you need to be familiar with that term and what it means for you. Protecting your property rights begins by reaching out to an experienced family law attorney and seeking a complete understanding of your entitlements and options according to state law.

What in the world is community property?

The term community property can be deceptive. It does not mean that each spouse will receive a 50-50 share of all marital property and assets. Rather, in Texas, the court will equitably, or fairly, divide all community property from the marriage, including the following:

  • Wages earned during the marriage
  • Real estate purchased over the course of the marriage
  • Furniture and other valuable property jointly purchased
  • Interest from investments
  • Mortgage and family home

Community property does not only include financial assets, real property and other valuable items purchased, earned or accumulated over the course of the marriage, it also includes any debts or liabilities from the marriage. This means that both parties should receive an equitable portion of both assets and debt.

Property not eligible for division in divorce

It can be useful to also understand what property is not eligible for distribution in a divorce. This can help you protect your rights to certain separate property, and can also help both parties avoid unnecessary conflicts over certain items. Things that are not eligible for distribution include:

  • Separate bank accounts
  • Inheritances given to one spouse
  • Gifts received by one spouse
  • Proceeds from personal injury claims
  • Assets earned or purchased after the dissolution of marriage takes place

It can be helpful to have a full understanding of what is community property and what is not as you move through the divorce process. Knowing your rights is the first step in protecting your rights, and this can also keep you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse from lengthy and expensive property division disputes.

Before you agree to any terms or attempt to negotiate for certain assets, you will find it beneficial to seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney. With the right help, you can pursue a final divorce order that lays the foundation for a strong post-divorce future.

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