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What property can a divorcing spouse receive?

During a divorce, property division can be a major concern for the spouses involved. In Texas, the court endeavors to order the division of an estate in a manner that regards the rights of both parties while also taking into consideration the impact on children of the marriage in question. As a community property state, Texas treats property acquired by spouses while living in other states as if the party lived in Texas at the time of acquisition.

In addition to real and personal property, earnings from wages, salaries or other compensation may be addressed during property division proceedings. In cases of a written agreement between the divorcing spouses, income during the year of the divorce may be omitted from consideration during the division of marital assets. Additionally, such assets from other years of the marriage may be considered as separate property if stipulated in a written agreement.

Benefits such as insurance, retirement accounts, and other employment benefits may be considered during asset division as well. The court may determine the rights of each spouse with regard to such benefits. In cases of insurance other than a life insurance policy, the terms are to remain in effect until the expiration of such a policy. Claims under such a policy would need to be distributed in accordance with the court's decree. Texas law does permit a divorcing couple to seek an amicable settlement through a written contract related to the division of assets providing such a settlement is deemed just and right. A revision may be required if the terms are not approved.

In forging an acceptable agreement for the sake of an amicable divorce, parties may still want to work with their attorneys to be sure that relevant assets are not omitted from consideration. A thorough review of the assets and a carefully constructed agreement may streamline the divorce process by avoiding the need for revision.

Source: Texas Constitution and Statutes, "Chapter 7. Award of Martial Property", September 30, 2014

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