Property division is a very serious step in a divorce process but only community property can be divided by the courts. Texas is a community property state, which means Texas laws hold that both spouses in a marriage have equal ownership of community property. Despite their equal ownership, the court is not necessarily going to split the property 50/50 but will split it in a “just and right” manner.
What Is Considered Community Property In Texas?
What Is Not Considered Community Property In TX?
All property that the spouses acquired during the marriage are considered community property. This includes property that each spouse acquired with their own money and property that is in either of their names. Property excluded from community property is separate property.
Some of the kinds of property the court divided during a divorce include jewelry, clothing, furnishings, bank accounts, dividends, benefits, and more. Debt acquired during the marriage such as credit card debt, mortgage payments, loans, and rent owed also have to be divided.
Separate Property In Texas
Is Texas Community Property State
Separate property is any property a spouse acquired before marriage and inheritance gifts, or personal injury compensation they received during marriage. For a thing to be considered separate property, it must meet the following requirements:
- A spouse in the marriage must have acquired it before the marriage
- A spouse must have received the property during marriage as a gift from a third party or the other spouse
- A spouse must have acquired the property through inheritance during the marriage
- The property must be compensation for personal injuries a spouse sustained except for recovery for loss of wages
But courts assume that all property the spouses own is community property. A spouse has to provide “clear and convincing” evidence for a court to consider particular property as separate property.
Property Division In Texas Divorce
You and your spouse have equal ownership of community property. But the courts only divide the property in a “just and right” manner which does not mean a 50/50 split. The divorce court will consider the following factors when deciding how to split property:
- The party that will have custody of the children
- Whether the divorce was based on adultery, misuse or waste of community assets, drug abuse, or other faults
- The health of each spouse
- The tax issues in the marriage
- The ability of either spouse to find employment after divorce
- Where the property was purchased
- The difference in earning ability between the spouses
- The level of education of each spouse
Spouses can work together and reach an agreement on how to divide property. This agreement should be in writing and must be reviewed by the court. The court only approves property division agreements that it deems to be just and right.
The court may ask the couple to revise the agreement or may reject the agreement altogether.
Pensions and Employment Benefits
Any interest accumulated in a pension, profit-sharing, and retirement benefit plan is considered community property. After a court awards a spouse a portion of the other spouse’s retirement benefits, the employer of the other spouse will receive a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This order tells the employer to distribute the specified benefits to each spouse according to the court order.