Divorce is overwhelming and emotional for many couples who file in Texas. Not only are there issues, such as child custody and visitation schedules to negotiate, but it is also often difficult to part with property and assets that you have accumulated throughout years of marriage.
Texas is a community property state, which means that the court divides all marital property equally between spouses. Each spouse must fully disclose all property and assets in her or his possession during the negotiations process. It is important to remain fully aware of what is going on during the process so that you receive everything you deserve in the divorce settlement.
Understanding marital property
While marital property consists of everything amassed during the marriage, some items may get overlooked when it comes time to divide property and assets. Otherwise referred to as community property, marital property includes more than the family vehicles, homes and furniture. It could also include the following:
- Memberships to exclusive country clubs and golf courses
- Intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrights and patents
- Expensive collections, such as art, antiques, coins, classic cars and books
- Lottery ticket winnings and income tax refunds
- Term life insurance policies, stocks, 401k plans and retirement plans
- Travel reward miles and points
Marital property also covers any gifts the couple gave to one another during the marriage, as well. If one spouse loaned money or property to a third-party at some point during the marriage, both parties receive half of that property or assets once returned.
Things to keep in mind
Not all property is marital in a divorce. Some property may be separate and remain with the original owner even in the final divorce decree. This may include property owned before the marriage, inheritance and personal injury compensation. It is critical to avoid combining separate property with marital property. Once combined, the property may then become marital and then eligible for division in the divorce settlement.