Don't Mess With a Texas Homemakers' Assets During Divorce
After years of devoting your life to your spouse, perhaps raising a family and running the family home, the prospect of divorce may be quite alarming. If you are suddenly facing beginning a new life as a single person in Texas, you likely have many questions. Some of those questions may pertain to what assets you should expect to take with you.
The not-so simple process of property division
In Texas, determining what is and what is not marital property can be a little tricky. On the surface, everything a couple acquired over the duration of a marriage, either separately or together, is marital property. This may include:
- Household goods
- Pensions and benefits
Since marital assets are “community property” in Texas, each spouse is entitled to an equal share. This is assuming there is no prenuptial agreement stating otherwise. However, certain assets are, in fact, separate property. Such assets would not be subject to division as community property.
Which marital assets are separate property in Texas?
Generally, the assets that can be most easily identified as separate property, are items a spouse owned prior to getting married. These assets will remain with the original owner after a divorce.
Certain assets acquired during a marriage may also qualify for exclusion from community property. Anything either spouse receives by gift, award or bequeathal is separate property. Examples are:
- Family heirlooms passed along
- Birthday gifts
- Personal injury awards (excluding compensation for bills, wages and property damage; these are community property)
- Shared gifts are also not community property. However, both spouses may still be able to claim half of such gifts.
It is necessary to prove an asset rightfully belongs to a single person in order to gain acceptance as separate property by the courts. In Texas, a judge will base the status of an asset on the “inception of title rule.” This means the status at the time of acquisition will determine ownership, no matter what ultimately happens to the asset.
Claiming what’s rightfully yours
Moving on after a divorce can be difficult, both emotionally and financially. If you were not the primary breadwinner, you may believe you stand a good chance of coming away with less assets than you are truly entitled due to a personal lack of resources and the complexity of the marital assets.
However, by being prepared to stand up for yourself, you may greatly increase your chances at a truly fair division of your marital property. A dedicated lawyer who is ready to stand with you can help ensure the upholding of your rights during every aspect of your divorce.