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Texas is a "community property" state, which means all assets purchased during the marriage, all monies earned during the marriage, and all debt incurred during the marriage are considered community property of the parties, thus subject to division by the court upon dissolution of marriage. Texas follows the "inception of title" rule, which states the character of property (i.e. either community or separate) is determined when the party/parties acquired title to the property...thus, if you and your spouse purchased a house together one year after you are married, the presumption would be that the house is community property. Separate property is generally (1) property acquired before marriage; (2) property acquired by gift, devise or bequest; and (3) personal injury awards (excluding compensation for lost wages, which remains community property).

In dividing property and debt, the Texas Family Code states, "In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage." Tex. Fam. Code Sec 7.001. Usually this means a 50-50 division of the estate, unless a spouse presents sufficient cause and reason to vary from the standard division. In addition, a spouse may ask for a disproportionate share of the community estate if the other party was at fault for the breakup of the marriage.

If you have questions regarding property characterization and division, contact our office today for an initial consultation.

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