When you’re knee-deep in a divorce, it seems like all of your belongings are open game. So you may be wondering about that second home or vacation property you and your spouse purchased while you were still happily married.
To get at the issue, we’ll take a look at some FAQs about how Texas law applies to dividing non-homesteaded recreational property in a divorce.
Q: How is property in Texas categorized in a divorce?
A: Unlike the majority of states, Texas is not an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution, simply stated, means equally dividing property in a divorce. Texas is a community property state. We touched on community property and separate property in one of our earlier blog posts, but allow me to refresh your memory.
Separate property is any property that you owned prior to marriage. If you inherited property before or during marriage, it is considered separate property. The same goes for gifts given solely to you, even if this is more difficult to prove.
Community property is anything you have acquired during your marriage, whether it is a vehicle, a house, or any other property/income. Some individuals will argue that because they have separate bank accounts or only their name is on a title, that those properties belong to them, but this isn’t true. Whatever it is, if it is acquired during marriage and used during marriage, it is community property.
Q: How is a vacation home dealt with?
A: If the vacation home was purchased inside of the marriage, then it’s community property, so figuring out what to do with it is up to both spouses. You can decide to sell the property, split it between the two of you, or have one spouse stay and live in it as their primary residence.
Q: What if an agreement cannot be reached?
A: If you cannot reach an agreement about what to do with the property, the court will intervene and make a decision for you. In most cases, they’ll encourage you to either sell or refinance the property in one spouse’s name. But the property is handled significantly different if the property was purchased with someone’s inheritance or out of their own salary.
Q: What if the vacation home is located in a different state or country?
A: This is actually pretty straightforward. Once the decision is left up to the court, their jurisdiction holds sway anywhere Texas has jurisdiction over the couple. And since 75 percent of the world has a similar legal system to the United States, dealing with a property located in a different country would not be significantly more complicated.
Dividing property between spouses can be difficult and tedious. That’s why it’s imperative to reach out to an experienced divorce attorney who can help you simplify the process