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Understanding property division laws in Texas

When a couple files for divorce in Texas, property can be split in one of two ways. The first method of dividing property calls for both parties to come to an agreement on their own. In most cases, a court will go along with such an agreement. Another option is to have a court decide how to divide property under state law.

Texas is a community property state. This means that any property or debt either party obtained during the marriage is owned equally by both parties in the eyes of the law. As such, this community property will be divided equally in the case of a divorce. During this process, a court will take into account the best interests of each party as well as any children the couple has. For property that cannot generally be split in half, such as a car or a home, a dollar value will be assigned to that property. Either the dollar value of that asset will be split in half after the asset is sold or one party will get the asset while the other party gets cash.

Property that is acquired in another state may be considered community property if it would have been considered community property in Texas. Income that is received by a spouse after Jan. 1 of the year in which a divorce is filed may be classified as separate property. This may then shield that income from being divided once the marriage is dissolved.

Understanding community property division laws may make it easier for divorcing couples to determine what they may be entitled to in a divorce settlement. Whether the divorce is settled by the parties themselves or in court, the assistance of a family law attorney may be beneficial. An attorney can review an agreement to increase the chance that it will withstand any legal challenges that may arise.

Source: DivorceSupport.com, "Texas Property Division Factors", September 13, 2014

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