Everything that you own is vulnerable when you divorce. You and your ex may fight over property ranging from your prize pitbulls to your cabin. Given that Texas is a community property state, a significant portion of your assets may be at risk when you divorce.
The good news is that there are ways to protect your property when you divorce. Exploring different strategies can help you determine the best way for you to handle property division in your upcoming Texas divorce.
You don’t have to share your separate property
While you do need to treat marital assets as shared property, not everything you own is something you acquired while married. You may have significant property from before your marriage that you can protect completely from the property division process. You may also be able to protect inherited assets and give even if you received them during your marriage.
Some assets may be partially separate property and partially marital property. If you started your retirement account before you got married, the balance from before the marriage will be your separate property, while the amount contributed during the marriage may be subject to division.
You don’t have to risk it all in court
With the exception of your separate assets, all of your belongings and accounts may be vulnerable when you go to court to litigate property division. A judge will look at an inventory of all of your assets to decide the best way to share them between you and your spouse. Although you may give evidence about your preferred outcome, you ultimately have very little control over what the judge does.
You can attempt to negotiate a settlement with your spouse outside of court instead. That approach allows you to protect certain assets or to factor in certain kinds of misconduct that might not play as big of a role in divorce court. So long as you have a compelling reason for making certain requests or a willingness to make concessions in other areas, cooperating with your ex to divide your property on your own can be a way to protect the assets that matter the most to you.
Those who still feel hopeful about preserving their marriage might consider drafting a post-nuptial agreement. That process might help them address their marital issues while simultaneously preserving some of their assets if they divorce in the future. Understanding property division rules can help you protect yourself as you prepare for divorce.