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Division of property in a Texas divorce

The first step in dividing property is determining which assets are separate property and which are marital property. In general, property owned by each party before marriage is separate property, and property obtained during marriage is marital property because Texas is a "community property" state. This also applies to debt. If either party contributes separate property to paying for community property or the other party's separate property or if the couple uses community property to pay separate debt, the parties may file reimbursement claims for these amounts.

Many different factors affect how a Texas divorce court will divide a couple's community property upon their divorce. If the couple created a premarital or marital agreement, the judge will normally follow the guidelines within that agreement when dividing the assets. These have minor differences from each other, but they both state who receives what property in a divorce.

In the absence of any agreement between the parties, the court will divide all marital property in a way that is fair to both parties. If the couple has any children, the court may permit the custodial parent to reside in the marital home with the children. The court may issue other assets to the other parent or require that the couple sell the house once the youngest child reaches 18 years of age.

When calculating property division in a divorce, an attorney can help one party to ensure that he or she receives a fair portion of the assets. An attorney is also very helpful with any types of compensation claims. The party cannot, however, file any of these claims for payments of student loans, child support or living expenses for the spouse or any children.

Source: State Bar of Texas, "Pro Se Divorce Handbook", October 11, 2014

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