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What is community property and why is it important?

If you are beginning the divorce process, you may have heard the term community property and wondered what it refers to and how it will impact your divorce. Community property describes the way that marital property is classified in Texas and has a significant impact on property division because the classification of property largely determines how it will be divided when a couple divorces. Property and assets subject to property division during a divorce can include earnings, homes, cars, furniture, stocks, bonds, debts and other assets.

Community property generally refers to martial property acquired by the couple during marriage and is typically split in half upon divorce. In Texas, marital property is divided equitably. Property that is not considered community property is referred to a separate property. Separate property is generally not subject to property division. Separate property includes property one spouse owned prior to marriage; property that was inherited or received as a gift during marriage; or earnings of either spouse following legal separation and some other types of property.

There are additional types of property that may also be considered depending on the circumstances and different factors may be considered when property is divided. While the divorce process can involve complex emotions and sometimes cause anxiety, property division during divorce can be especially overwhelming in the midst of other changes. Understanding how property division is conducted, and what to expect, can help divorcing couples minimize the anxiety sometimes associated with the process.

The family law process provides resources to help couples through their divorce once they have decided to divorce. Knowledge of the process and the legal resources available to help them can be useful for any couple during the divorce process.

Source: Family.findlaw.com, "Community Property Overview," Accessed June 22, 2016

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