When working through the divorce process, it is not uncommon for spouses to argue about assets. The goal, for most, is to walk away with at least 50% of the shared assets, but that does not happen in every case, despite Texas being a community property state. Several factors are taken into consideration when working toward a property division settlement, which will affect the final outcome.
What does community property mean? Do all couples have to abide by community property laws? Does a judge get the final say on the matter?
Community property is…
In the United States, some states utilize equitable distribution laws — which means spouses should walk away from the marriage with a fair share of assets. In a community property state like Texas, all marital assets are evenly divided between both parties. In other words, it should result in as close to a 50/50 split as possible.
“Shared” is the keyword when figuring out a property division settlement. Shared marital assets are subject to division, but separate property that has not been co-mingled with marital assets cannot be taken from its rightful owner — such as real estate or money earned before the marriage. Other assets deemed separate property and therefore excluded from asset division include:
- Civil judgments
- Prized family possessions
Marital assets typically include money in shared bank accounts, shared debts, shared real estate and each party’s income during the marriage — among other things.
Do all couples have to abide by community property laws?
Pre or postnuptial agreements can affect the ultimate division of property. When these agreements are valid, the court typically upholds them, even if they are not in line with the state’s community property laws.
Is it up to a judge or me?
Divorcing couples reach property division agreements in one of two ways — either through negotiation or litigation. Most couples can work out settlements without having to set foot in a courtroom. Those who cannot end up in court and have to accept whatever the judge decides is equal.
You can achieve a fair settlement
Divorce is a challenging thing to go through. Wanting to walk away with a fair share of assets at the end of it all is understandable. Achieving a fair property division settlement can take time, but it is possible. With the right help, you can negotiate or litigate terms with which you feel satisfied.