It can take a long time to rebuild your life after divorce, and the financial resources that you secure in the divorce will play a major role in your future stability. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand how community property laws work in Texas and may approach their upcoming divorce with unrealistic expectations.
A Texas family law matters judge will use the state’s community property law to guide them as they divide your assets and debts. Although community property sometimes means a 50/50 split, a judge can consider factors from your marriage that would make an even split unfair. Thankfully, you will have the opportunity to protect some of your belongings as separate property that your spouse does not have a claim to in your divorce.
Which assets may constitute separate property under Texas law?
What you owned before marriage
The later in life you married, the more likely it is that you had significant personal assets already when you met your spouse. Your vehicle, your independent retirement savings and other property that belonged solely to you before your marriage will remain your separate property when you divorce in most cases.
What you received as gifts or an inheritance
If your parents died while you were married and they left all of their property to you and your brother, your spouse doesn’t technically have a claim to your share of the inheritance.
Only in scenarios where you give them access to or control over assets could they potentially ask for a share of your inherited property in a divorce. Those who avoid commingling their inherited property and gifts with marital assets can protect those belongings from division in their divorce proceedings.
What you protected in a prenuptial agreement
If you drafted a contract with your spouse when you first got engaged describing how you would retain certain assets if you divorce, then those belongings typically remain your separate property when your marriage ends. Unless your ex is able to challenge or invalidate your prenuptial agreement, the assets you protected when negotiating that agreement should remain your separate assets in a divorce.
Financial records will play a major part in a claim that some property is separate. Carefully reviewing your records and current assets will help you protect yourself during property division proceedings in a Texas divorce.