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What Is Community Property

For couples who decide to end their marriage and pursue divorce, there are many major decisions to make and sensitive issues to resolve. In addition to determining custodial rights of minor children, property and assets must be divided between both parties in the divorce. In the context of divorce, property is generally defined as either separate property or community property. Separate property is typically anything solely owned by one spouse before the marriage, anything inherited before or during the marriage by only one spouse, or property received as a gift by one spouse. All other property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered community property, and is equally owned by both spouses.

Texas is one of a only a handful of states considered a Community Property state, meaning that all community property must be divided in a "just and right" manner between divorcing parties. While this might seem like a more equitable and reasonable way to divide property and assets acquired during a marriage, the reality is that many divorcing couples end up with a lengthy and heated divorce process because of battles over valuable or sentimental assets. Unless and until one spouse can clearly prove sole ownership of a property or asset, everything is considered community property, including real estate, vehicles, businesses, cash holdings, retirement benefits, jewelry, art, and other items.

During the divorce process, the presiding judge will consider all circumstances in order to make the division of property as equitable as possible, including the education and earning power of each spouse, spousal health, financial support of children, fault in the marriage breakup, and other important factors. While some assets can be easily divided, such as furniture, vehicles, and cash holdings, others can involve a lengthier process to fairly divide. For example, real estate holdings can be difficult to divide since both spouses might express interest in keeping the property for themselves, or one might want to keep it while the other desires to sell and divide the profit. Additionally, community property also can include 401(k) savings, profit sharing, pension funds, and other retirement assets acquired or during marriage, so these can be divided as well between divorcing spouses, regardless of which spouse actually contributed the funds.

Although Texas law requires that community property between divorcing couples be divided in a "just and right" manner, this does not mean that community property is required to be divided equally between the two parties. Christiansen Law Firm specializes in helping individuals navigate the complex and difficult divorce process and resolve property division disputes. The family law attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm have extensive experience in divorce proceedings, helping win clients a larger share of community property, especially when the other spouse can be proven at fault for the disintegration of the marriage. Christiansen Law Firm is committed to securing clients a favorable outcome for property division during a divorce, with offices conveniently located in Houston and San Antonio. Contact Christiansen Law Firm today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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810 S. Highway 6
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Houston, Texas 77079
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