You do not need to know all the legal terminology when you divorce. You can hire help for that. Yet understanding some of the basic terms gives you a good head start.
Property division can be of the most contentious issues in a divorce. It can also be one of the most worrying, with people thinking they will lose everything.
You do not need to divide all property in a divorce. It depends on which category it falls in:
- Separate property
If it was yours before you married, it should be yours after you divorce. Anything you protected with a prenuptial is also separate property. So too is anything someone gives you as a gift, and anything you inherit at any point.
There are a few exceptions, but we will come to them later.
- Community property
This is the key area up for grabs in your divorce. Texas requires an equitable split of community property. It does not necessarily mean you need to split the contents of each bank account in two. Rather that you need to reach a fair division of the total community property.
It refers to almost everything you acquire during your marriage, regardless of who paid for them or earned them. The exception being gifts to one person and inheritances.
- Commingled assets
These are things that started as separate property but are now hard to distinguish from your marital property. So, if you placed your inheritance in the joint account and used it along with other money in there to pay for things, you may not be able to claim it as separate anymore. Anything still in that account will be treated as marital property and need dividing.
Getting help to understand more about property division allows you to construct an informed divorce strategy.