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How Does Property Division Work in a Texas Divorce?

Anyone planning on a divorce in League City or Galveston needs to understand how Texas courts handle property division. Property will need to be classified appropriately, and community property must be divided between the spouses. While Texas is a “community property” state, this designation does not prevent the court from considering factors specific to the case to ensure that community property is divided fairly between the spouses. Our League City and Galveston family law attorneys can provide you with more information about how property division works in a Texas divorce.

Community Property Will Be Divided Between the Spouses

Under the Texas Family Code, “the court shall order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.” What this means is that all community property must be divided between the spouses in a way that is fair, taking into account specific circumstances and facts from the marriage and concerning both spouses.

Like we mentioned above, although Texas is a community property state, assets and debts that are classified as community property are not necessarily divided in a 50-50 manner between the spouses as is common in other community property states. Instead, the court divides that property in a manner that is “just and right.”

Separate Property and Community Property Must Be Classified

What is the difference between separate and community property? The Texas Family Code explains that community property includes all “property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during marriage.” Separate property includes:

  • Property a spouse owner before the date of the marriage;
  • Property acquired during the marriage by one of the spouses through a gift or inheritance; and
  • Property acquired by one of the spouses during the marriage through a personal injury recovery.

In order for property to be classified as separate property instead of community property, the spouse seeking for an asset or debt to be listed as separate property must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the property is separate. Otherwise, there is a presumption of community property under Texas law.

Fraud on the Community Can Affect Property Division

In a Texas divorce, both spouses must provide full and complete information about the property in their possession, including property that they believe to be separate property, as well as property that they believe to be community property. Any attempts to hide or conceal assets in order to prevent them from being distributed in the divorce case will likely constitute what the Texas Family Code defines as “fraud on the community.”

When a court determines that one of the spouses has committed either actual or constructive fraud on the community, it can take multiple steps to address the fraud on the community, including issuing a money judgment against the spouse who committed fraud, and awarding that money judgment to the wronged spouse.

Contact a Family Law Attorney Serving Clients in Galveston and League City

If you have questions about property division in your divorce or any other matters concerning Texas family law, a Galveston and League City family law attorney at our firm can assist you. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today.