Only nine states have community property laws, and Texas is one of them. What does this mean? Instead of distributing property based on an equitable system, courts distribute property equally. All property gained during marriage – with a few exceptions – belong to both spouses.
Community property laws have benefits and drawbacks. Having an equal claim over all marital property can be a double-edged sword, after all. For example, if you buy an expensive television set that both of you use, it belongs to you both. The court may award you the television, but it may also go to your partner.
The courts do make their decisions with fairness in mind. If it is obvious that you have spent good money on an item, chances are high that they will award it to you. But equal division means that courts split property down the middle. This also means you may have to part with things you believe are yours. On the other hand, these laws can keep your spouse from laying claim to everything. It ensures you both leave with something.
Some property is exempt from community property laws. This includes any property gained after filing for divorce. It can also include items of sentimental value such as heirlooms left by a loved one who passed on. Inheritances in the form of assets or property may also be exempt.
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