When people in Texas decide to divorce, the financial consequences can be significant. Even after the emotional feelings about the end of the marriage have subsided and the practical matters are resolved, asset division can permanently change each partner’s financial future. Texas is a community property state, one of nine in the country. This is an important factor in any divorce that takes place in the state, whether it is resolved through a settlement or goes to trial in family courts.

Understanding community property

Under Texas’ community property laws, both spouses are considered to own all property acquired during the marriage equally, regardless of each partner’s income. While the community property principle is an important part of assigning and understanding ownership, it does not necessarily result in equal asset division. Community property applies to marital property, that which is acquired during the marriage, not to accounts and valuables owned by either spouse before the marriage. A family court judge or a divorce settlement may order a division of property that is considered equitable for both parties.

Community property as a protective concept

Given that asset division does not need to be equal in Texas, there are other aspects of community property law that are important to consider. This type of law emerged as a means to protect the rights of both spouses, especially when one partner was expected to stay at home. Community property laws may apply to debts as well as assets, and some excluded property, such as premarital assets, inheritances and gifts may be converted to community property by a spouse’s actions.

Texas offers a more flexible community property framework than some other states, but it remains key in sorting out financial matters during a divorce. A family law attorney may work with a divorcing spouse to attain a fair settlement on asset division, spousal support and other key issues.