One of the central components of getting a divorce in Texas is the distribution of marital property. Texas courts use community property doctrine in this element of a divorce, which means that all property not determined as personal will be divided equally. While this is a seemingly basic and simple concept, determining what is personal property can be difficult. Types of property can vary widely, some of which may or may not be known about by a particular spouse, and the inventory of all property can be complicated for many couples with significant real estate and financial holdings.
The most common types of included property begin with holdings that were accrued by work or investment through the duration of the marriage. This can include retirement accounts as well as income. Real estate holdings and family businesses that have been established during the marriage can also be subject to distribution in a divorce as well, but there may be restrictions on property that is co-owned by others outside of the marriage.
Exempt property is typically first identified in a divorce proceeding, with all other inventoried property potentially being included for distribution. Exempt property can include compensation for a personal injury, inheritance from a relative, or property that was purchased prior to or following the marriage. Additionally, some married couples maintain separate bank accounts for particular reasons, and this property is also typically exempt from claims by either spouse.
It is important to remember that financial liabilities are also a component of most divorce cases, and a comprehensive settlement agreement will also include them as well. Many divorce cases are unique in certain aspects, and other factors such as personal health can be part of the information that can impact property division rulings.