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San Marcos Texas Legal Blog

Does a stay-at-home spouse have property rights during a divorce?

| May 5, 2021 | Divorce |

Choosing to stay home to care for children or run the household is never an easy choice. It means not only forgoing a current stream of income, but also facing hardship and lower earning potential later if you try to go back to work.

Leaving the workforce will usually mean that you become financially dependent on your spouse unless you have enough separate property to provide for yourself. Your spouse and the family benefit from your unpaid work and mental labor, but your ability to support yourself suffers. Given that you didn’t work, does that mean you can’t claim any of the property you share with your spouse if you divorce?

Texas has community property laws that protect you

If the Texas family courts just let each spouse keep what they earned or purchased during a marriage, divorces could be very unfair. Thankfully, community property laws help protect dependent spouses by making the income either spouse earns during the marriage community property. Most other assets a couple obtains during a marriage, with the exception of gifts or a personal inheritance for one spouse, will also be community property.

The courts split community property 50-50. Even employee benefits earned by one spouse, like a pension, could be subject to division. Knowing what assets you can possibly claim in a divorce and what the Texas family laws allow is the first step in planning for the rest of your life. Pushing for a fair property settlement can help ensure that you have the resources you need to move on and build a better future.