How is Property Divided in a Texas Divorce?
Texas is a community-property state, which means that spouses both own property acquired during marriage that is not separate property. Texas law does not, however, require that all community property be divided equally upon divorce.Texas divorce law requires a judge to divide property in a manner that is “just and right,” given the circumstances of the spouses and their children, if any.
Texas divorce law presumes that all assets acquired during marriage and all liabilities incurred during marriage are community property. There are exceptions to this presumption. If a spouse can show by clear and convincing evidence that he or she owns separate property, a court cannot divide that property between the spouses, but must confirm that it belongs to the spouse who proved the separate-property claim.
The following property will be considered separate property if a spouse can prove his or her assertion by tracing the assets claimed as separate property to assets that currently exist, even if they exist in a different form.
- Property owned before marriage
- Property inherited, whether before or after marriage
- Property received as a gift, including gifts between spouses
- Awards for personal injuries (with some exceptions–if you have assets which resulted from a personal injury claim that you want to claim as separate property, you should consult an attorney)
Debts will also be either community debts or separate debts, depending on whether they were incurred before the marriage or during the marriage. Under some circumstances, debts incurred during a marriage can be separate debts. If you believe you have separate debts, you should consult an attorney.
Texas family law does allow a judge to order one spouse to pay spousal maintenance under specific limited conditions. It is permissible for spouses to agree to contractual alimony if it makes sense for their family. If either you or your spouse believe you might qualify for spousal maintenance, or want to agree to contractual alimony, you should consult an attorney.
Texas does not require that the details of every divorce be decided by a judge. Spouses are free to make arrangements that work for them based on an agreement. Our Negotiated Divorce streamlined process will guide you through the process of agreeing about how to divide your assets and liabilities. Divorce can become even more difficult when dealing with Child-Related Issues.