When trying to file for a divorce, especially a contested divorce, there are many aspects that people don’t think about until after it’s been set into motion. One of those aspects is the division of property. Of the 50 states in the United States, nine of them are “community property states”. Community property means that most, if not all, property that is obtained during the course of the marriage belongs to each spouse in an even 50/50 split. The State of Texas happens to be one of those nine states that has a community property law. Finding a knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorney is crucial to ensuring you get a fair deal in your divorce.

What is the Difference Between Community Property And “Separate” Property?

First, it’s important to determine what exactly property can be. While most things that you may think of as property are vehicles, furniture, and other items you may have in your home, property goes beyond that. Property also includes assets and even debts. This means that if you file for a divorce and you share a credit card with your spouse that has a $5,000 balance, you and your spouse will likely receive a 50/50 split of that balance. Even payouts for some personal injuries or gifts can be taken into account when dividing assets in a divorce.

While community property consists of any assets or debts obtained during a marriage, separate property consists of assets or debts that are obtained before marriage. For example, the vehicle you purchased prior to being married would be considered separate property. The same goes for any debts that you have acquired prior to the marriage.

division of property in a texas divorce

There are, however, some exceptions to the rule of separate property. Let’s go back to the example of the car that you own prior to being married. Two years into your marriage, you and your spouse put funds towards some modifications on the vehicle. While the car is still your possession, during a divorce your spouse may now be entitled to some of the value of the vehicle. Why? This is because everything done during the marriage is considered to be community property like the funds used to modify the vehicle.

Lastly, don’t assume that you can claim something as separate property and then everyone agrees. If you’re going through the process of a divorce and the division of property, you need to be ready to prove that the assets that you claim as separate property are, legally speaking, separate property. If you haven’t kept clear, organized records of the acquisition of your assets and property prior to getting married, proving this could be more difficult. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced divorce lawyer like the ones at Marx Altman & Johnson.

Should I Get A Prenuptial Agreement?

Something to consider before marriage is a prenuptial agreement. Also commonly referred to as a “prenup”, this is a pre-marriage contract that legally determines assets that can circumvent the laws of community property. Also keep in mind that these binding agreements have to be in writing, and both parties must sign the agreement willingly. If you decide to have a prenuptial agreement, you must faithfully disclose all of your assets and the values. If you fail to do this, and the truth is discovered during divorce proceedings, the prenuptial agreement can actually be voided.

If you have assets, investments, business(es), or anything else that you have prior to a marriage that you want to ensure you retain in the event of a divorce, a prenuptial agreement is one of the most important things that you can do. If you and your spouse don’t really have any assets prior to marriage, then it may not be necessary. If you’re unsure, you should always consult with your Texas divorce attorney.

Hire The Best Texas Divorce Attorney

When you hire Marx Altman & Johnson, you are hiring one of the top divorce attorneys in Fort Worth, Texas. The decades of experience that our team brings allows us to process more divorces in a timely manner at an affordable price while still maintaining the best quality. If you have questions about filing for divorce, contact us today.