Making the decision to terminate your marriage can be daunting and overwhelming. In addition to determining child custody, support and alimony, you must determine who will receive the property and assets accumulated during the marriage.
In a traditional courtroom divorce, the judge will determine how to split the property and assets, according to Texas state statutes. Yet, couples who enter into the mediation process may negotiate the terms of their divorce settlement without the help of a judge.
What is a community property state?
Texas is one of few states in the nation that follows the community property model of asset division. This means that the judge presiding over the divorce case will divide all marital property equally between spouses. It is critical that both parties disclose all marital property in their possession in order to ensure each party ends up with the property and assets they deserve.
What is marital property?
Marital property, also referred to as community property, involves everything amassed during the marriage. In addition to property, vehicles, furniture and bank account contents, there are some lesser common types of marital property. These include the following:
- Lottery ticket winnings
- Federal and state income tax refunds
- 401k plans, retirement accounts, term life insurance policies and stock options
- Memberships to exclusive golf courses and country clubs
- Intellectual property, such as royalties from copyrights, trademarks and patents
- Gifts spouses gave to one another during the marriage
The judge may consider any frequent flier miles or travel rewards points as marital property as well. Furthermore, any collections, such as art, classic cars, antiques, coins or rare books, may be divided in the final divorce settlement. If you believe your spouse is attempting to hide marital property or has not disclosed all property in their possession, it is important to let your attorney, the judge or the mediator know.