Because Texas is a community property state, it means that Texas divorce proceedings in property division are somewhat different from those of other states in the country. Generally, when it comes to the usual divorce proceedings, property is divided into three categories – your separate property, your spouse’s separate property, and community property. Spouses keep their separate properties, while community property is divided between divorcing couples evenly, although a skilled attorney can support and argue a claim for a larger share of property.
When it comes to classifying property, the name on the title or bank account and who paid for an item generally determines what is separate property and what is community property in most states. On the other hand, in Texas, a community property state, almost everything acquired by either you or your spouse within the duration of the marriage is considered community property. As long as it was acquired during the marriage, even if there is only one name on the title or if a bank account is separate, it most likely still is community property, and this includes bonuses that were paid to one spouse.
Additional examples of community property include:
- Wages, salaries and tips from employment;
- Compensation from unemployment;
- A residence purchased during the marriage;
- Vehicles purchased during the marriage;
- Individual contributions to 401ks, pensions or retirement accounts.
It is important to understand the difference between community property and separate property. Here are a few examples of what is considered separate property:
- A home that one of the spouse’s purchased before marriage;
- Gifts given to a spouse by the other spouse;
- A spouse’s inheritance;
- Contributions to a spouse’s retirement account prior to the marriage;
- A vehicle that the spouse owned prior to the marriage.
It is understandable that you would want to keep as much of your property as possible when getting a divorce. That is why if you are thinking of getting a divorce or if you think your spouse is contemplating one, please consult one of our experienced Texas divorce and family law attorneys. They will help you understand community property and help you navigate the divorce process.