When a couple decides to get divorced, one person will often move out of the family home. This is then referred to as the date of separation, even though the actual date of divorce will be much further in the future. At best, divorce will take a few months.
In some states, this date becomes very important for property division. Items that are purchased after the date of separation do not count as marital assets that are owned by both people. Instead, they are owned only by the individual who purchased them. But Texas is different, and so the date of separation may mean less.
Why is this? Here’s what you should know:
Community property laws
The reason is that Texas uses community property laws, and these seek to split up property evenly between both people. Everything that the couple owns is assumed to be owned jointly.
Separation doesn’t change that under Texas law. Just because you moved out of the house and started living somewhere else during the divorce process doesn’t end your marriage. And because you are still married, if you buy something that is a significant asset, your spouse still has a right to that. It does not necessarily make a difference that the two of you aren’t living together or making joint decisions at this point. The court is focused on equal division, not equitable division.
As such, it’s very important to consider when and how you purchase items during your divorce, and you also need to make sure that you know about all of your legal rights during property division so that you get what you truly deserve.