For some Texas couples, filing for divorce or legal separation is an overwhelming process. Not only are there often emotions tied to ending a marriage, but there are several loose ends that must be negotiated in the final divorce settlement.
Dividing marital property may be one of the most daunting tasks, as you may become attached to property and items you have accumulated during years of marriage. While the court requires you and your spouse to disclose all marital property in your possession, it is important to know what types of property are included.
What is marital property?
While you may think of marital property including the family home, furniture and bank account contents, there may be a great deal more. Property that includes both you and your spouse’s name is often eligible for division in the final settlement. However, other items that you amassed while married are also included. This includes less commonly thought of items, such as the following:
- Expensive collections, such as art, antiques, wine, coins and cars
- Intellectual property, such as copyrights, patents or trademarks
- Lottery ticket winnings or income tax returns
- Retirement plans, 401k plans, stocks, money market accounts and term life insurance policies
- Frequent flier miles
- Memberships to exclusive golf courses or country clubs
Marital property also includes any gifts you exchanged with your spouse during the marriage.
How do you handle marital property?
Mediation is one option for those needing to separate marital property. During this process, you and your spouse can determine who receives what in a non-confrontational manner. If you cannot come to an agreement, however, you may have the court make the decision. Texas is a community property state, meaning the court divides all marital property equally in half. If you suspect that your spouse is not coming forth with all marital property in their possession, you may want to seek legal assistance.