TEXAS DIVORCE: HOW TO DIVIDE THE PROPERTY AND DEBTS

Texas is a community property state; this means that all income earned and property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is community property and belongs to both spouses equally. Therefore, it must be split equally between them when they divorce. Further, this also applies to all debt incurred during the marriage. Debts are considered to be community property and belong to both spouses and are to split equally between them. However, if ‘just and right’ reasons are presented to the court why a certain asset should be distributed differently, the court may order an unequal division.

Community Property:

The court begins its evaluation by presuming that all property held by either spouses during the marriage is community property. The definition of community property according to Texas law is any property acquired or earned during the marriage that is not separate property. Where a spouse wants to keep a certain asset(s) free from division, the spouse must prove by way of clear and convincing evidence that the asset is separate property.

Separate Property includes:

Anything that belongs to one spouse before the marriage and was kept separate throughout the marriage
Property that was given only to one spouse during the marriage; for example, a gift or an inheritance left for one spouse.

Money received from a personal injury lawsuit or settlement remain the separate property of the injured spouse. Once proof is provided that an asset is separate property the court cannot award it to the other spouse.

If the divorcing spouses can agree on how to divide the community property, the court will accept the negotiated agreement. However, if the divorcing spouses fail to agree on who has what, the dividing of the community property will be left to the court.

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