In Texas, marriage is not only the joining of you and your partner but also the joining of all your possessions. Because it is a community property state, how the law divides your finances, assets and personal property is different from equitable division states.
Here are some of the ways community property will affect property division in your divorce, as explained by Smart Asset.
Instead of separating purchases, earnings and assets into “yours, mine and ours,” everything you and your spouse acquire during the marriage belongs to both of you.
You may think that your spouse cannot possibly take your car, which is the nicer one, but regardless of the fact that your name is the only one on the title and you are the one who drives it, that car belongs to both of you if you bought it after the wedding. A judge will consider giving it to your spouse if that evens out the property division.
In equitable division states, a judge may decide to adjust how much property each spouse receives if one spouse contributes more (financially or otherwise) or if there are other inequalities in the relationship or the finances. While the courts in Texas do want the division to be fair, that begins from a place of joint ownership.
In a litigated divorce, you are putting the property division in the judge’s hands. However, you and your spouse can take matters into your own hands by coming to an agreement outside of court. The judge still has the final say, but he or she is much more likely to look it over and sign it than evaluate and make changes.
Even if you feel that your spouse will not negotiate fairly, it may be worth a shot to try to compromise outside of court. If not, keep property division rules in mind as you determine what you will try to claim in your divorce petition.