Texas is a community property state. Community property is generally all of the property (and debts) you and your spouse acquire during your marriage. Exceptions to community property include property you received individually by gift, devise or descent. You and your spouse have equal ownership interest in your community property. During your divorce proceeding, you and your spouse will have the opportunity to decide how to divide your community property; if you can't agree, the Court will divide your community property after a trial on the merits.

If you turn to the court for a division of your community property, the court will make a "just and right" division. This may result in a near 50/50 split unless you or your spouse successfully makes a claim for a disproportionate share of the community estate based on one of several factors which can include, but is not limited to, fault in the breakup of the marriage, age of the parties, conservatorship of the child(ren), tax implications of property owned, etc. Ask the divorce attorneys at the law firm of ALSTON & ENGELHAUPT, PLLC whether any of these considerations apply to your divorce. If so, you may be entitled to more or less than 50 percent of the assets and debts that comprise your community property.

Assets Subject to Division

All of your community property and debts are subject to division. Examples of typical community assets include but are not limited to the following: the marital residence, other real estate (such as vacation homes, investment properties and ranches), mineral rights and royalty interests, cash, investments (such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds), retirement accounts, trust fund income, investment property income, regular investment income, income from your job and/or your spouse's job, household furnishings, computers, other electronics, jewelry, vehicles, boats, RVs, etc.

Assets Not Subject to Division

In conjunction with its division of your community property, the court will confirm your separate property. Separate property is property you owned before you got married, as well as gifts and inheritances you received during the marriage. Separate property is not subject to division during your divorce proceeding.

Post-Divorce Property Considerations

After your community property is divided and your divorce is finalized, everything awarded to you becomes your separate property. Thus, your divorce decree will be an important document for title and ownership purposes. You should order at least one certified copy of your divorce decree from the clerk's office once it becomes available. (It may take several days for the clerk to process your final order after it is signed by the judge.)

For more information about family law in Fort Bend County, Harris County, Galveston County and Brazoria County including Sugar Land, Missouri City, Stafford, Richmond, Rosenberg, Fresno, Clear Lake, League City, Webster, Friendswood, Pearland, and the Houston metropolitan area, or if you require a family law attorney, please contact us.