If you and your spouse do not have children, then the biggest question in a divorce is how to divide your property. The more assets you have, the more complicated this can become. Few people get rich by putting their money in the bank, so it is likely you store your wealth in a variety of different places and forms. You need to trace all these in preparation for your divorce.
Under Texas state code, your assets fall into two categories. They are either separate property, belonging to one person, or community property, belonging to both. Working out which category items fall into can be complicated, and there is often disagreement. You will need the help of an experienced divorce attorney to guide you and ensure you do not lose out.
What is classified as separate property?
- Things covered under a prenuptial agreement
- Property owned before your marriage
- Inheritances left to one of you
- Gifts received, including if given by your spouse
What is classified as community property?
- Everything that you or your spouse cannot prove is separate property
- Income earned during the marriage
- Things purchased during the marriage
Once you have worked out what is separate property, you then need to divide the community property. Texas law uses the theory of equitable distribution, which aims to split your property in a way that is fair to both parties, without necessarily being equal. How does a court define fair? It depends. A judge may consider it appropriate to award you more if your partner’s behavior caused the breakup or if your partner has better earning potential. Property division is an area where your attorney can make all the difference.