Divorcing couples are bound to follow the asset division structures mandated by the states in which they live. There are nine states in the country that are known as “community property states. Texas is one of them. This means that Texas law requires couples to treat virtually all assets acquired and debts incurred throughout the duration of a marriage to be jointly owned.
There are very few exceptions to this interpretation of community property. As a result, it will be presumed that your marital estate consists of jointly-owned property unless you successfully assert your right to have a specific asset, set of assets, or debt(s) to be treated as your property or your spouse’s property alone.
Equitable division considerations
It is undeniably challenging to navigate the restrictive classifications of community property if a divorcing couple either has complex assets or a complex financial situation generally. However, couples can benefit from the fact that Texas is not a 50-50 community property state. It is an equitable division property state.
In equal distribution states, the value of all assets and debts that are included as elements of a marital estate must be divided 50-50. By contrast, equitable distribution states permit couples to either agree on an alternative division (in non-contentious cases) or judges to order an alternative division (in contentious cases) provided that the outcome is fair to both parties.
By carefully researching the nature of Texas’s approach to the equitable division of community property, you’ll be better positioned to ensure that you receive a truly fair share of your marital property. Regardless of whether your divorce process is amicable or contentious, understanding when marital assets may be removed from the marital estate and what the concept of “equitable” means in legal terms will help you to advocate for your needs and interests effectively.