Community Property: How Does it Impact Your Divorce?

March 16, 2018 Posted in Divorce

If you are ending your marriage, division of property is likely going to be one of the most important and contentious issues that you will face. Deciding how to divide up property as your marriage ends can be a major challenge, and it is important to understand how the law in Texas will dictate what happens to your marital property.

Dallas divorce lawyers can provide you with assistance understanding how Texas law says your marital property should be split up as your union comes to an end. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible during the divorce can be helpful as your lawyer can work with you to understand your rights so you can maximize the chance of coming up with a fair compromise and avoiding a litigated divorce.

Community Property Rules and Division of Property in Texas

One of the key things that you will need to understand when your marriage is ending is that property in Texas is divided according to community property rules. Community property is one of two different approaches used by different states across the U.S. to dictate how property is divided in divorce. The other approach is equitable distribution.

While equitable distribution aims to encourage a fair and just distribution of assets based on each party's economic and non-financial contributions to a marriage, community property rules work differently. In community property states, all property acquired during the marriage belongs to the couple as a marital unit and each spouse is entitled to half of his or her share of community property.

With community property rules, it does not matter if one spouse worked and the other did not; it does not matter what contributions each spouse made to the family; and it does not matter if there was an income disparity or if one spouse acquired much more property than the other did.  Any and all property acquired during the course of the marriage is considered community property with a few very limited exceptions such as assets acquired with separate property that was brought into the marriage and kept separate or inheritances that were clearly left to one spouse only.

All other assets are to be divided up equally – and all debts acquired during the marriage are also to be divided under community property rules. 

When you are getting a divorce, you can work with your spouse to try to figure out how you want to divide up your assets. If you are able to come to a compromise, then you will not have to ask a judge to decide on this important issue for you. However, if no compromise can be reached – and if you do not have a prenuptial agreement that is enforceable and that dictates the division of assets – the court will work to find a way to ensure each spouse gets half of all marital assets.

Dallas divorce lawyers can help with the negotiation of a compromise on property division or can provide assistance if division of assets is litigated. To find out more about how our legal team can help you to protect your interests in marital property after a marriage ends, give us a call today.