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A brief look at the statutory rules for classification and division of property in Texas, P.2

In our last post, we began looking at Texas law concerning how courts in this state define community property and separate property. In addition to the rules we mentioned last time, there are special statutory rules that apply to gifts between spouses, certain types of employee benefits, and certain types of insurance proceeds.

With respect to the actual division of property, Texas does not, as some other community property states, articulate a 50 percent ownership presumption for each party. Rather, the rule is that courts are to divide the marital estate in a way that is “just and right.” Courts will consider the rights of both parties and any children from the marriage when determining exactly what constitutes a fair division of marital property.

Courts will use this “just and right” rule not only with marital property, but also with separate property acquired by either spouse while domiciled in another state, either outright or in exchange for real or personal property, which would be considered community property if the spouse had been domiciled in Texas when the property was acquired.

Couples may, of course, choose to take control of property division in the event of divorce by entering into a prenuptial agreement. For couples who have not taken that precaution, though, Texas courts will work to promote an amicable divorce by giving deference to a written agreement concerning property division presented by the couple. Not every couple is going to be able to do this, but those who are able to do so can save themselves time and money by quickly resolving any differences they may have.

That having been said, there is no sense in quickly resolve property division disputes if it means taking a raw deal. This is why it is important for couples going through divorce to work with an experienced attorney to ensure their rights and interests are protected and advocated through the divorce process.

Source: Texas Family Code Sec. 7

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