Long-term marriages ending in divorce can be significantly more complex because they often involve more assets.
As a community property state, the Texas court generally approaches asset division with the goal of providing equal shares of marital property to both spouses, but there are exceptions.
Separate property refers to anything owned by the spouse prior to the marriage. This can include jewelry, vehicles, real estate and more. Anything gifted to only one spouse during the marriage would also be separate property.
Anything acquired during the marriage falls under the umbrella of community property. Therefore, the court acknowledges that both spouses have an equal share of each asset and attempts to divide the property equitably.
Even property held in one spouse’s name belongs to both spouses in a community property state. This includes all income earned during the marriage, all financial accounts, long-term investments, retirement benefits and other assets.
The court can convert separate property to community property if both spouses sign an agreement. For example, if the couple purchased a home prior to the marriage and both contributed to it financially, they may convert it to community property.
Sometimes there is a blurred line between separate and community property. When it becomes unclear whether to categorize an asset as either, the court typically classifies it as community property.
When a prenuptial agreement exists, the court will usually abide by those terms unless there is an issue. Additionally, when spouses agree on the division of property, it can speed up the process significantly.