Texas goes by community property laws when couples divorce. That means you will split debts and assets from the marriage evenly.
Before negotiating a property division agreement with your estranged spouse, review the laws about community property in Texas.
Distinguishing community property
Most property accrued after you marry falls into the category of community property. Texas recognizes just a few exceptions:
- A personal injury settlement received solely by you or your spouse
- A gift or inheritance in the name of you or your spouse alone
- Assets and debts either of you accrued before the marriage, as long as they remain separate during the marriage
Separate property can become community property if it is “commingled” with shared assets. For example, if you both lived in and contributed to a house one of you owned before marriage, both of you have some claim to the equity increase during the marriage.
Dividing property equally
You can attempt to agree with your spouse on property division before finalizing your divorce. Otherwise, the court will decide on a fair arrangement. The judge generally starts with equal division but may adjust this standard depending on:
- Each person’s separate property and debt
- Your family’s child care arrangements
- Each person’s current and future earnings and employment situation
- Each person’s age and health status
- Fault in the end of your marriage
If you and your spouse have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, its terms will govern property division. You can also establish certain assets or debts as separate property in this type of legal document.