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Community property in Texas divorce cases

People who are divorcing in Texas will normally have all of the property they acquired during their marriage divided equally between them and their former spouses. Texas, as a community property state, has a presumption of equal division of the community property.

Community, or marital, property in Texas includes all of the property either spouse acquired during the marriage with a few exceptions. In most cases it does not include property that was separately owned by either spouse prior to the marriage. It also does not include an inheritance received by one spouse but not the other, nor does it include a gift given to one spouse or a personal injury award granted to one spouse.

Community property may include the amount that separate property has increased in value during the marriage, especially when the increase is due to the help of the other spouse. If a person has deposited funds from a separately held inheritance, gift or personal injury award into a jointly held account for both spouses to access, the property may also lose its classification. In the case of such commingling, courts may deem it to be a part of the community property and thus divide it between the spouses.

When people are going through a divorce, property division may be one of the most hotly contested issues. Often, it is in a person's best interests to try to get the assets valued to determine the proper division. In the event there is a prenuptial agreement, people may want to have their family law attorney review it to determine if it is valid or if it may be challenged. A family law attorney may be able to help value and appraise the marital property in the course of attempting to negotiate a fair division for the benefit of a client.

Source: Texas Young Lawyers Association, "Pro Se Divorce Handbook", accessed on Feb. 16, 2015

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