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What is considered community property?

One of the ways divorce lawyers determine whether property is “separate” or “community” is the inception rule. Simply stated, if an item of property is acquired before the marriage or after legal separation, it is considered “separate,” and if it is acquired during the marriage, family divorce lawyers would consider it “community” property. Another way family law attorneys determine the character of property is by looking at the source of the funds used (otherwise known as “tracing.”) Property lawyers will trace the source of a purchase back to either community or separate property funds, which will dictate the character of the item purchased. But divorcing couples in Texas are not limited to those rules. Texas law allows married couples to agree in writing to convert separate property to community property and the best family law attorneys can craft settlements that will stand up in court.

Once a divorce attorney determines whether property is “separate” or “community,” it is then time to distribute the assets in a divorce. Some of the most important assets that a family law attorney will address first are community items such as retirement accounts, homes and credit cards. In a Texas divorce, the court will order what is called a “just and right” division of the couple’s community property. But as many divorce attorneys will advise, this does not necessarily mean that each party gets half. Sometimes, one party will wish to keep their entire retirement account and in exchange, they will give up an equivalent value on another asset, such as the marital residence. In addition, debt is divided equally even though one spouse may argue that they didn’t incur half the debt. As family law lawyers will advise, this does not matter in a community state. All community debt is divided equally regardless of which party made the purchase because the law assumes that each party enjoyed the benefit of the purchase.

As you can see, even though the definition of community property appears very straightforward and simple, you may need a Burleson divorce lawyer to help navigate some of the more complicated scenarios that can arise in a community property state.