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What is community property and how does it impact my divorce?

Couples entering the divorce process may have many important questions and concerns and one concern may be property division. In Texas, absent a prenuptial agreement, community property governs the division of property when a married couple is divorcing. Under this property division system, community property acquired during the marriage is viewed as belonging to the community and will be divided in half, or 50-50, when the couple divorces.

In general, community property is considered property acquired during the marriage that is distributed equally between the couple when they divorce. As part of the community property division process in Texas, marital property is divided equitably between the divorcing spouses. The court examines several factors to determine what will be an equitable distribution of property between the couple. A number of factors may be considered by the court including the earning capacity of both spouses and which parent has primary custody of the children.

Community property can include wages earned by the spouses during the marriage; homes and property, such as furniture, purchased during the marriage; a mortgage on a family home; and certain interest income. Alternately, separate property includes property owned prior to the marriage; gifts and inheritances received during the marriage; and the earnings of either spouse following legal separation. Bank accounts that are held separately and personal injury settlements may, for instance, be considered separate property.

The divorce process can create uncertainty for many couples, however, when couples are able to understand the divorce process, it can make it less uncertain and smoother for the couple. The family law process provides guidance that can help divorcing couples navigate the divorce and property division process.

Source: Family.findlaw.com, "Community Property Overview," Accessed May 3, 2016

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