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Who owns marital property in Texas?

If you're going to get divorced in Texas, you need to split up your property. So, who owns the property and how should it be given out?

The short answer is that both of you own it. Texas is a community property state. This means anything that you and your spouse decided to go out and buy while you were married is owned by both of you. You made the decision as a couple, you owned the item as a couple, and you both have equal claim to it when you split up.

There is confusion about this because the vast majority of states in the U.S.—41 out of 50—are not community property states. However, Texas is, so it's very important to note the difference and to know how it impacts the proceedings.

This can lead to some splits that people don't necessarily consider fair. For example, if a husband works part time and makes $25,000 per year, while his wife works full time and makes $75,000 per year, she may think she's entitled to the vast majority of the cash in the divorce. However, the court will look at them as a couple who makes $100,000 per year, meaning both have a claim to $50,000—even though the wife knows that she actually earned the majority of the money.

However, it is important to note that this way of looking at things only starts when the marriage starts. If you owned things—like cars or homes—or had a lot of money before getting married, you can still claim that they are yours alone, not to be split with your spouse.

Source: FindLaw, "Who Owns What in Marital Property?," accessed Nov. 13, 2015

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