Community Property: What Is It All About?
Community property means what you probably think of as marital property, which includes nearly every asset or property that you and your spouse acquired during your years as a married couple (This may include a house, learn more by reading this article: Who Keeps the House in a Divorce in Texas?). This is regardless of who made the purchase and of how the asset is titled. If, for example, your spouse purchased a motorcycle during the course of your marriage for his or her own use – alone – the motorcycle remains marital property (unless it was purchased entirely with your spouse’s separate funds). Notable exceptions to this community property rule include:
Any inheritances that either of you receives in only your name
Any gifts that either of you receives in only your name
Anything either of you purchases for yourself alone with funds that belong solely to you
How Is Community Property Divided?
In the State of Texas, community property is meant to be divided equitably in the event of divorce. This does not necessarily mean exactly equally but, instead, means that the assets must be divided fairly given the circumstances involved. As such, the equitable division of your community property will not look exactly the same as the equitable division of anyone else’s.
Separate Property Is outside the Purview of Community Property Laws
If you and/or your spouse bring separate property into your marriage with you – and keep it separate throughout your marriage – it will remain your separate property and will not be included in the equitable division of your community property. It is important to point out, however, that the requirement regarding keeping your property separate can be exceptionally difficult to maintain. Consider the following:
If your separate property – such as a retirement account, small business, or other assets – increases in value over the years of your marriage, this increase in value is very likely to be classified as community property.
If you mix and mingle your finances regarding your separate and marital property, it blurs the dividing line between them.
If you, for example, run a business that is your separate property but fail to pay yourself a fair wage, which would benefit your family directly, this can tip the balance away from separate and toward community property.
Do Not Wait to Consult with an Experienced Coryell County Divorce Lawyer
The establishment and division of community property can be one of the most complicated components of your Texas divorce, but Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Coryell County is a trusted divorce lawyer who has the experience, drive, and legal skill to help protect your financial rights throughout the divorce process. For more information, please contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 today.